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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid