News / USA

Republican Presidential Race Appears Wide Open

Representative Ron Paul of Texas speaks to a gathering of Tea Party supporters at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville, South Carolina, May 5, 2011
Representative Ron Paul of Texas speaks to a gathering of Tea Party supporters at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville, South Carolina, May 5, 2011

In U.S. presidential politics, it has been a week of turmoil for Republicans hoping to challenge President Barack Obama in next year’s election.  Two prominent Republican contenders, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and New York businessman Donald Trump, have decided against a run for president in recent days, leaving some major questions about who will run for the party nomination in 2012.

Donald Trump got a lot of attention before he decided to pull out of the race on Monday.  But the biggest impact on the 2012 Republican field so far is Mike Huckabee’s decision not to seek the nomination despite the fact that he was at or near the top of most public opinion polls.

Huckabee explained his decision on Fox News Sunday. “But I just somehow believed deep within me that it was not the right time and it was not to be, and whether it was a lack of detailed preparation, it is not going to happen this time," he said.

With Huckabee and Trump now out of the race, some Republicans are turning their attention to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.  He has not formally declared, but is raising large sums of money and is at the top of most public-opinion polls of likely Republican contenders.

Romney, though, is facing stiff criticism from conservatives for a health-care reform plan in Massachusetts he passed as governor that became the model for President Obama’s national health care plan approved by Congress last year.

Conservatives wanted Romney to disown the Massachusetts plan, something Romney said he would not do.  Instead Romney has criticized the Obama plan as too sweeping. “I believe it is an economic nightmare.  It does not lower health care costs, overall, in our system," he said.

Romney is not the only Republican contender with challenges to overcome.  Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich has officially entered the race, but continues to face questions about his two divorces and a history of adultery, an issue of concern to social conservatives, a key voting bloc within the Republican Party.

Gingrich spoke on NBC’s Meet the Press. “I have made mistakes in my life.  I have had to go to God for forgiveness and to seek reconciliation and I would ask them to look at who I am today," he said.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul has joined the race and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum have also taken steps toward a White House bid.

But some recent surveys suggest Republicans are dissatisfied with the developing field of presidential candidates and would like to see other choices, bolstering the notion that this is the most wide-open Republican field in decades.

Peter Brown is with the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in Connecticut. “One thing is pretty clear.  Republican voters are looking for someone who can beat Barack Obama and that is a big deal to them and I think that will, to a large degree, drive the race," he said.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels says he will decide soon on whether to make a bid, as will Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a favorite among social conservatives and supporters of the Tea Party movement pushing for smaller government.

But analysts say it is never easy running against an incumbent president, especially one like Barack Obama who is a proven fundraiser and campaigner.

Stephen Wayne is a professor of government at Georgetown University in Washington. “So running against an incumbent with a recovering economy and an incumbent who can raise a lot of money and have no opposition [from within his own party], that is a big Herculean feat and none of the people who are serious contenders want to do it now if they could wait four years," he said.

Most experts see Mr. Obama in a favorable position for re-election, but far from a sure thing.  They say the president’s re-election likely hinges on continued economic and job growth and that an unexpected downturn could quickly change the political dynamic for 2012.

Some Republicans, meanwhile, hope to lure other contenders into the race, including former Florida governor Jeb Bush and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  But both of them have said no to a presidential run.  

One prominent Republican who has given no hint of her intentions is former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who was the party’s vice presidential nominee in the 2008 campaign.

You May Like

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs