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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid