Something on the mind of most Americans is how to turn this economy around. There are many familiar faces running for President of the United States, hoping to grasp voter’s attention before next fall. The unchallenged Democrat President Obama, demonstrating his beliefs and views on the current issues since he has been the Commander-in-Chief for over three years, is a candidate. There are eight potential Republican candidates out there trying to appeal to voters.
The only woman in the race (since former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin declined) is Michelle Bachmann. She graduated from William and Mary Law School in 1988 and went to work for the U.S. Treasury Department. In 2000, she ran for state senator and won, followed by a run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006. She has been serving in the Minnesota House ever since and has been a major force in the Republicans most conservative group; she is known as the “Tea Party Darling.” Bachmann is a strong supporter of massive spending cuts, saying that neither the Republicans nor Democrats are fighting the “big fight” to stop our overreaching spending in the government. She is a pro-life believer going as far as trying to defund “Planned Parenthood” and repealing Roe v. Wade. The congresswoman is a mother of 28 (23 of those being foster children), and has been married to her husband Marcus for 30 years.
Herman Cain is the only candidate running who has never been elected to political office. He prides himself on being a strong businessman that understands the problems of the nation’s economy. Cain graduated from Morehouse College and went on to work as a mathematician in the U.S. Navy. He has worked for Coca-Cola, Pillsbury, and became CEO of a failing Godfather’s Pizza in 1986 and returned the company to profitability. He has an economic plan called the “9-9-9 Plan” which would instate a 9% Flat Business Tax, a 9% Flat Individual Tax, and a 9% National Tax. He says that “production drives the economy, not spending.” Cain believes that we need to keep a closer eye on North Korea due to their development of nuclear weapons. The businessman believes that the Obama administration has taken a back seat on this issue. He has two children, and has been married to his wife Gloria for 43 years.
Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, has many years of experience in the political field. A graduate of Tulane University, he went on to teach at West Georgia College as a history professor until he ran for a seat in the Georgia Congress in 1978. In the early 90’s, Gingrich was elected as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives after he helped write the “Contract for America” (a document drafted by Republicans that would change policy in Congress). Between 2009-2010, Gingrich raised over $32 million for his “undecided campaign” which is more than a combined amount raised by all of the other Republicans. He says that he would be able to balance the federal budget within a few short years, pointing to his success in the House, helping to create surplus budgets for four straight years. The speaker supports the war in Iraq but refuses to comment on President Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops by the end of this year, saying that “commenting on it makes zero sense if you don’t put it into context.” He has two daughters, and has been married three times; currently married for eleven years to his wife, Callista.
John Huntsman boycotted the last GOP Debate saying that it was “more important to participate in a town hall meeting for the people.” He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and worked for 15 years for his family’s business, “Huntsman Corporation.” Huntsman worked for President Reagan as an aide and for President George H.W. Bush as Ambassador to Singapore. In 2004, he was elected as Governor of Utah and was elected again in 2008 with almost 80% of the vote. It was in the middle of his second term when President Obama asked him to become U.S. Ambassador to China, given his experience as a missionary worker in the country years before. Huntsman believes that a three-tier rate instead of the current six tier, and the elimination of the capital gains and dividend taxes will help to improve the economy. The governor also strongly supports the second amendment, approving two bills while governor, furthering citizens rights in Utah to bear arms. Huntsman has seven children (two adopted), and has been married to his wife Mary for 28 years.
Ron Paul graduated from Gettysburg College, becoming an obstetrician and a gynecologist. He has delivered over 4,000 babies to date. He entered politics in 1971 by becoming a delegate to the Texas Republican Convention. Paul then became a Texas congressman and has been one on and off since 1978. He won his 12th term in Congress in 2010 with over 80% of the vote. The congressman ran for President in 1988 as a Libertarian and again in 2008 as a Republican. He is known for speaking his mind and not being afraid to give his views that are sometimes known as radical, like getting rid of the Homeland Security Department and the Federal Reserve. “When an individual is broke, they’re supposed to quit spending money and pay off their bills, but we haven’t done that in Washington,” Paul said. He is also a large proponent of the government staying out of civil rights, thinking that certain issues like gay marriage and gay rights should not be dealt with by Congress. He also believes that affirmative action is wrong for any group of people. Paul has five children, and has been married to his wife Carol for 54 years.
Attracting to religious voters, Rick Perry came out strong when he announced his late entrance to the Presidential race, but has slowly been declining ever since. He went to college at Texas A&M University, and then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, rising to Captain in his five years there. When State Representative Joe Hanna passed away, Rick Perry took over his seat as a Democrat, serving six years. During this period, he served as the State Chairman to the Walter Mondale and Al Gore Presidential campaigns in 1984 and 1988. Towards the end of his third term in Congress, he switched parties to become a Republican. Perry ran for Lt. Gov. in 1998, serving under then Texas Gov. George W. Bush. In 2002, Perry ran for the governorship and is currently in the middle of his third term. The governor believes he has the experience to fix the economy given the healthy housing market that his state has produced for the past few years. He quotes the Bible many times on the campaign trail, saying that “biblical principles will foster the return of our economic fortune.” Perry’s stance on immigration doesn’t hit home with
many Republicans, because of the estimated 1.6 million illegal immigrants living in his state. He is against building a fence along the border of Mexico, saying it would “worsen the problem.” Perry has two children, and has been married to his wife Anita for 29 years.
The frontrunner in nearly every poll across the nation in the Republican race is Mitt Romney. He went to college at Brigham Young University and got his masters at Harvard Law School. Entering the business world he eventually became CEO of Bain & Company, helping to bring the corporation out of an economic crisis. He was the top organizer in the 2002 Winter Olympics, leading to his position as CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Romney became the Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, serving one term. As governor, he led the fight of spending cuts and increasing fees, helping the state avoid a projected $3 billion deficit. He also signed into law the Massachusetts health care reform legislation, providing near universal health insurance access to state citizens. Many on the right criticize this move, because this legislation helped jumpstart President Obama’s health care law that has been put into place in the past year. Romney came in a close second to Senator John McCain for the Republican nomination for President in 2008. The governor believes the best way to fix the economy is to reduce the corporate income tax rate to 25%, implement free trade agreements with more countries around the world, and cut non-security discretionary spending by 5%. Romney supports tax-deductions for out of pocket medical expenses and would permit states to direct funds spent treating the uninsured to assist them in purchasing private health insurance. He has five children, and has been married to his wife Ann for 42 years.
Conservative candidate Rick Santorum graduated from Dickinson School of Law, followed by working as the Director of Pennsylvania’s Senate Transportation Committee for five years. In the early 90’s, Santorum beat seven-time incumbent Doug Walgreen in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. When his term ended, he served two, six-year terms as Pennsylvania’s Senator. The senator has been a strict opponent of the Wall Street bailouts and President Obama’s stimulus packages. He supported the Bush tax cuts, saying, “Reducing the tax burden on businesses and individuals is key to economic growth.” Santorum believes that the Obama administration didn’t do enough to intervene in Libya and Iran when both country’s leaders and revolutionaries clashed. He has seven children, and has been married to his wife Karen for 21 years.
Voting gets ones voice heard. As anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Adam Anders is a fifth-year student majoring in political science, with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at AA652656@wcupa.edu.