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.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs