News / USA

Republican Presidential Hopefuls Focus on Obama, Economy

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney answers a question as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, left, and Representative Ron Paul, listen during the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire,
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney answers a question as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, left, and Representative Ron Paul, listen during the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire,

Multimedia

Audio

Following their first major presidential debate, Republican White House contenders have made it clear they intend to make the 2012 U.S. presidential election a referendum on President Barack Obama's handling of the domestic economy.  Political analysts say the strategy is no surprise and could make for a very close election next year.

Seven Republican contenders took part in the presidential debate, and political analysts generally gave the higher grades to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Romney has solidified his lead in the polls as the Republican frontrunner in recent weeks and is citing his business background as an advantage in discussing how to revive the U.S. economy.

"The right way for America to create jobs is to keep government in its place and to allow the private sector and the energy and passion of the American people to create a brighter future for our kids and for ourselves," said Romney.

Despite his lead in the polls, Romney still faces concerns from conservatives who question his previous moderate stances on issues like abortion, climate change and health care reform.

Michele Bachmann officially joined the presidential race during Monday's debate and experts said she made a strong initial impression even though less well known that Romney nationally.

Bachmann has appeal to two important groups within the Republican Party-Evangelical Christians and supporters of the Tea Party movement pushing for smaller government and a repeal of President Obama's health care law.

"As president of the United States I will not rest until I repeal 'Obamacare.'  It is a promise.  Take it to the bank.  Cash the check.  I will make sure that that happens," said Bachmann.

Five other contenders took part in the debate including former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, Texas Congressman Ron Paul and Georgia businessman Herman Cain.

The Republican contenders focused their rhetorical fire on President Obama and not each other, at least for now, signaling they intend to make Obama's handling of the economy the central issue in next year's campaign.

Recent polls indicate President Obama's approval ratings have slipped slightly after surging last month in the wake of the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Political analysts say bad economic news is to blame, especially the recent tick up in the jobless rate to 9.1 percent.

John Fortier is with the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington:

"But if there is not much change in direction, four years of bad economic times, even if it started under [former President] George Bush, is a bad sign for the president," said Fortier.

Fortier spoke on VOA's Encounter program, as did political analyst Stuart Rothenberg.

"I think we are headed for a real race.  I am assuming that the economy that we see today is going to be something like the economy we see in the summer and fall of 2012," noted Rothenberg.

The latest polls show only Mitt Romney comes close to defeating President Obama if the election were held today.  But all of that could change in the months to come, says Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown.

"We do not know what the playing field will be like in the fall of 2012," noted Brown.  "Tell me what the price of a gallon of gasoline is.  Tell me what the unemployment rate is.  Is the United States embroiled in foreign conflicts that the electorate is unhappy about?  Those are all unknowns right now that you just can not know."

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman is expected to join the presidential field next week and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is still considering joining the race as well.

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid