Politics

Presidential Derby

Jim DeMint not so high on Mitt Romney
By: Kevin Derby | Posted: March 21, 2011 11:15 AM

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Each week, it appears less and less likely that U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina will run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. But, while DeMint may not be a candidate himself, as one of the tea party movement’s favorite politicians from the first Southern state to hold a primary, DeMint is poised to play an important role in determining who the nominee will be. While DeMint backed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2008, he has not yet offered an endorsement for 2012. Sources close to DeMint are telling national media outlets that they do not expect him to back Romney again due to the former Massachusetts governor’s role in supporting state health care … While former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other Republicans have attacked President Barack Obama for golfing as much as he has during his presidency, the Democrat is getting help from an unlikely ally. Former Vice President Dan Quayle, whose son is a Republican congressman from Arizona, defended Obama, insisting the president remains in touch with advisers and staff even when out on the links … Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani continues to leave the door open for making another run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. He spoke in New Hampshire to a Republican group on Friday night and is starting to jab Romney on health care …

At least four possible Republican presidential candidates will be taking part in a webcast going to evangelical churches across the nation on March 26. Gingrich, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota will all be taking part in the “Rediscovering God in America” event. Floridians in the churches across the state should see a familiar face -- Florida Family Policy Council President John Stemberger will be speaking at the event … While former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has been an active campaigner in a number of the early primary and caucus states, he was back in his old stomping grounds of Pennsylvania this week. Speaking at a Republican event in Uniontown, Santorum hammered Obama on foreign policy issues, arguing that the president has shown no leadership on recent events in Libya … Businessman Herman Cain, who is almost certain to run for the Republican nomination, brought in Matt Murphy, who backed Giuliani in 2008 and led the NRA‘s efforts in the Granite State in 2010, to help with operations in New Hampshire … Barbour and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who is kicking over running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, spoke at the California Republican convention this weekend …

The Obama team reached out to organized labor last week. Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis reached out to the AFL-CIO members on Thursday and called for labor to organize in 2012 ... U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that she was not interested in running as vice president in 2012. She added that she was not looking to continue at her present position or move over to head up Defense if Obama wins a second term … The Obama team is looking to raise big bucks in 2011. Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, spoke to 450 Democratic donors on Thursday. Messina asked them to bring in $350,000 each before the end of the year …

Oklahoma is one of the toughest states in the nation for third party and independent presidential candidates to make the ballot. Independent candidate Ralph Nader made the ballot in 45 states and was recognized as a write-in candidate in four other states in 2008. Oklahoma was the one exception. On Thursday, the Oklahoma House passed a measure lowering the threshold of 5 percent of the vote from the previous general election -- more than 73,000 signatures in 2008 -- to 22,500 signatures. The measure still faces a vote in the Senate … Native American activist Winona LaDuke, who ran as Nader’s vice presidential candidate and has received some attention as a possible Green Party candidate in 2012, has been touring the country, speaking at colleges in California and Michigan so far in March … Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who came to power as a Reform Party candidate and has left the door open to a presidential bid in 2012 as an independent, will have a busy April, hitting New York, New Jersey and California as part of a book tour.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.


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