News / USA

    Possible Republican US Presidential Contenders Appeal to Conservatives

    Former US Republican Senator Rick Santorum speaking at the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting in Washington, February 10, 2011
    Former US Republican Senator Rick Santorum speaking at the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting in Washington, February 10, 2011

    Though overshadowed by events in Egypt, thousands of U.S. conservative activists have been meeting in Washington this week, and many are already looking forward to the 2012 presidential race.  Several potential Republican presidential contenders addressed a conservative group in what amounts to informal candidate auditions for the 2012 election.  

    The event is the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC for short.

    It is an important gathering for conservative activists around the country, and an opportunity for those considering a White House bid in 2012 to win over supporters in the audience and beyond.

    Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is considering another presidential bid in 2012 after coming up short against John McCain in 2008 for the party nomination.  Like most of the speakers at the CPAC conference, he took direct aim at President Barack Obama.

    “Today’s misery is real unemployment, home foreclosures and bankruptcies," said Romney. "This is the Obama Misery Index, and it’s at a record high.  It’s going to take more than new rhetoric to put Americans back to work, it’s going to take a new president!”

    One surprise addition to the Republican presidential field this year could be billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump.  Trump told the conference he will make a decision on whether to run for president by June.

    “And I will tell you the reason I am thinking about it is that the United States has become a whipping post for the rest of the world," said Trump. "The world is treating us without respect.  They are not treating us properly.”

    The CPAC convention is also an opportunity for lesser known Republicans considering a run for the White House to make an impression on the thousands of activists who attend.

    Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is a favorite with the so-called Tea Party movement, a loosely-organized grass roots grouping of conservative and Libertarian activists who seek to shrink the size of the federal government.

    Bachmann told the crowd that defeating President Obama should be the top priority for conservatives next year.   

    “And the all important, must-have for 2012 is this, making Barack Obama a one-term president," said Bachmann.

    Bachmann could be enticed to run especially if former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, another Tea Party favorite, decides not to.  Palin and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, another possible contender, did not attend the CPAC conference.

    Some familiar Republicans spoke to the conference as well, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who says he will decide on a presidential bid in the next few months.  Gingrich focused his critique on foreign policy and national security issues.

    “The Obama administration is wrong on terrorism, wrong on Iran, wrong on the Muslim Brotherhood, wrong on Hezbollah, and being wrong on that many national security items is an enormously dangerous thing," said Gingrich.

    The CPAC conference has long been a place where economic and social conservatives come together in search of common ground.  Both groups represent key constituencies within the Republican Party.

    Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is emphasizing conservative views on social issues in his possible presidential bid, including opposition to abortion and gay marriage.

    “Ladies and gentlemen, America belongs to God, and we are stewards of that great gift," said Santorum.

    Although there is increasing attention to the prospective Republican presidential field for 2012, political analysts say the field lacks clarity at this early stage.

    This is Washington-based analyst Rhodes Cook:


    “It’s a little hard to gauge, I would say, for one reason," said Rhodes Cook. "It is a late-starting campaign unlike in 2008.”

    Public opinion polls suggest that former Governor Mitt Romney is the closest thing to an early front-runner in the still-evolving Republican presidential field.  But most experts, including Rhodes Cook, see the battle for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination as wide open.

    “The one thing about this Republican race that sticks out now is that it is a muddle," said Cook. "I mean, there is no real heir apparent there.  And in past election cycles the Republicans have been known for having an heir apparent, kind of ready to go.”

    Many of the possible Republican presidential contenders like to invoke the memory of former President Ronald Reagan, who remains a hero to the U.S. conservative movement.

    But analyst Charles Cook of the Cook Political Report says he does not see a towering figure yet among the field of possible Republican candidates for 2012.

    “It is really unlikely that we are going to see a reincarnation of Ronald Reagan, one of the strongest, most formidable Republican candidates in the last century," said Charles Cook.

    Several Republicans are expected to announce their White House intentions within the next few months, and candidate debates will begin later this year.  


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora