News / USA

    Romney, Santorum Move Toward US Presidential Bids

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. (file)
    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. (file)

    In U.S. politics, the 2012 presidential election is more than a year away.  But some Republicans with White House aspirations are beginning to eye the campaign trail.  

    You can add two more likely Republican Party challengers to the mix for 2012.  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum announced this week that they are forming presidential exploratory committees, a traditional first step toward a campaign for the White House.

    Romney finished behind eventual Republican nominee John McCain in 2008, despite the fact that he was as able to raise more campaign contributions than McCain.  Romney announced his initial step for 2012 in a video released by his campaign organization.

    "I believe in America.  I believe in the freedom and opportunity and the principles of our Constitution that have led us to become the greatest nation in the history of the Earth," he said.  "This effort isn’t about a person.  It is about the cause of American freedom and greatness."

    Former U.S. Republican Senator Rick Santorum speaking at the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting in Washington, D.C., February 10, 2011
    Former U.S. Republican Senator Rick Santorum speaking at the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting in Washington, D.C., February 10, 2011

    Rick Santorum is less well known than Romney around the country.  But he has a reputation for holding strong conservative views on social issues, including opposition to abortion and gay marriage.

    By setting up exploratory committees, potential candidates can begin fundraising and gauge how easy or difficult it will be for them to raise the tens of millions of dollars necessary to compete in a U.S. presidential race.

    Romney has been at or near the top in most recent public opinion polls and some analysts consider Romney the closest thing to a front-runner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination at this very early point in the race.

    "In the Republican tradition, Mitt Romney is the frontrunner simply because he has run before and come reasonably close to the nomination," said Larry Sabato, who directs the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.  "But he certainly is not a strong frontrunner.  He didn’t make a great impression in 2008, and we don’t know who’s running for sure yet."

    Other analysts see the Republican race for 2012 as wide open and predict a large field of contenders will eventually join the fray.

    Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich (file)
    Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich (file)

    Already, former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer have taken initial steps toward a run for the White House.  Others expected to follow soon include Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

    But some well-known Republicans have so far shown little indication of getting into the race, including former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  Palin was John McCain’s vice presidential running mate in 2008, and she retains a loyal following as a conservative television commentator.

    One surprise in recent weeks has been the rise of New York real estate mogul and television celebrity Donald Trump in some of the opinion polls.

    Real estate developer Donald Trump (2006 file)
    Real estate developer Donald Trump (2006 file)

    Trump has raised questions about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, even though state officials in Hawaii confirmed its authenticity when Mr. Obama was a presidential candidate.  Under the U.S. Constitution, only people born in the United States are eligible to become president, and so-called "birther" groups opposed to Mr. Obama continue to allege that he was born in Kenya.

    With names like Romney, Trump, Huckabee and Gingrich near the top of most opinion surveys, experts say that better known contenders have an advantage in the early stages of the 2012 Republican race.

    "We have a huge field of candidates," said John Fortier, who is with the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.  "The ones who are at the top now are those who are best known and who have high name recognition.  There are a few others who might make it into that final group, but it is a long process of sorting that out on the Republican side."

    It is expected that most of those Republicans truly interested in running for president next year will formally announce their intentions in the next few months.  Candidate debates are scheduled beginning next month in South Carolina.  The first official test for the Republican field is scheduled for next February in the Iowa precinct caucuses.


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Ugandan Opposition Candidate: Only Intimidation, Vote Buying Can Prevent Victory

    Kizza Besigye says he has been drawing large crowds and claims he has widespred support ahead of Feb. 18 vote

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    Sanctions Just Got Real for Over 54,000 North Koreans

    Shuttering of Kaesong complex ends virtually any hope of peaceful settlement to long-standing tensions on Korean peninsula in near future

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.