News / USA

Republican Presidential Hopefuls Woo Social Conservatives

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition at the Point of Grace Church in Waukee, Iowa, March 7, 2011
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition at the Point of Grace Church in Waukee, Iowa, March 7, 2011

The situation in Libya and the threat of a U.S. government shutdown over failure to agree on a budget are dominating political debate in Washington these days. But that is not the case in the early stages of the battle for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination for 2012. The focus there seems to be on patriotic themes such as God and country.

It will be almost a year before Republicans can begin the process of selecting their presidential nominee through a series of state caucuses and primary votes. But the political jockeying has already begun for a handful of Republicans seriously considering a White House bid in 2012.

Several Republican hopefuls recently spoke to social conservatives in Iowa, the state that traditionally begins the presidential nominee selection process with its caucus voting scheduled for next February.

Among them was former House speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is exploring a presidential run next year, and chose to talk about his faith at the Iowa event.

"So, what are the truths? That we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. Now why does that matter? Because it means the power comes from God to each one of you personally."

Religion also was on the mind of former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who quoted heavily from the Bible during his remarks. "The Constitution was designed to protect people of faith from government, not to protect government from people of faith."

Social conservatives are a critical group within the Republican Party, unified by a commitment to family values, and opposition to abortion and gay marriage. Republican presidential contenders often go to great lengths to appeal to social conservatives as a first step toward winning the party’s presidential nomination.

Other key groups within the Republican Party include economic conservatives and so-called Tea Party activists, who advocate cutting the size of government.

So far, none of the major potential Republican candidates have officially declared that they are in the 2012 race, but that is expected to change in the weeks ahead.

Republican pollster and political strategist Frank Luntz said Republican voters are looking for a candidate who embodies conservative principles and is willing to follow through on his or her promises.

Luntz spoke to the CSPAN public affairs network. "What they are looking for from these candidates is someone who says what they mean and means what they say. That phrase, 'say what you mean and mean what you say,' is the most important for any presidential candidate."

Some of the biggest Republican names who may join the 2012 presidential field did not attend the event in Iowa. Among them were former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Those three and Newt Gingrich generally are near the top of public opinion polls asking Republicans whom they prefer for 2012.

One wild card in the Republican field could be New York real estate mogul Donald Trump, who has said he will decide on a presidential run by June.

Fordham University political scientist Costas Panagopolous says political newcomers like Trump often face steep challenges when they get involved in presidential politics. "Outsider candidates with very little political experience face an uphill battle running for president under any circumstances, and I think that will be a challenge for anyone like a Donald Trump."

The Republican race has started slowly compared with the 2008 presidential campaign. At this point four years ago, most major contenders from both parties had already declared their candidacies and were out campaigning.

Analyst Rhodes Cook said Republicans historically have had a front-runner, or favorite, at the beginning of the election cycle who usually clinches the party's nomination, such as John McCain in 2008, George W. Bush in 2000 and Bob Dole in 1996.

"I mean, you had these people that were positioned as front-runners at the beginning of the Republican race and who kind of defined the Republican race. This time you don’t have that," said Cook.

In the next several weeks, potential Republican candidates will be out talking to voters and giving speeches in some of the early contest states, and, just as importantly, testing their ability to raise the huge amounts of money necessary to finance a presidential bid next year.


You May Like

Multimedia Ferguson, Missouri Streets Calm After Days of Violence

Police official says authorities responded to fewer incidents, noting there were no shootings, Molotov cocktails or fires More

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

For Chanthy Sok, rap infused with Cambodian melodies is a way to pay respect to the survivors of the victims of Khmer Rouge genocide More

Study: Our Life with Neanderthals Was No Brief Affair

Scientists discover thousands of years of overlap between modern humans and their shorter, stockier cousins 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid