President Barack Obama technically has the bully pulpit, but for the last couple of weeks, the GOP presidential candidates have had the drama. Let’s face it. Most Americans aren’t glued to the TV watching Where in the World is Muammar Gadaffi?
Even with Democrats in Congress bashing the tea partiers (because the Dems’ record is dismal), the GOP candidate drama still holds center stage. Part of the reason for that is fluidity; there may be frontrunners but it's still early.
Most pundits (and numerous polls) place Texas governor Rick Perry at the top of the field with the governor polling right alongside former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Also doing well are Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and Rep. Ron Paul (Texas). Businessman Herman Cain is still in the running.
Persevering on the campaign trail and jockeying for more brand recognition or credibility are former senator Rick Santorum (Penn.), former ambassador Jon Huntsman (Utah), former speaker of the US House Newt Gingrich (Georgia) and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson.
Because of abundant media on the Web, there are many resources for keeping up with the candidates.
Red State’s Erick Erickson does regular analyses—his most recent column is titled, ‘Rick Perry as frontrunner?’
The Club for Growth has produced a white paper about each GOP candidate; overall Perry is graded at B with a major plus for his policies that spur economic growth. Bachmann got stellar ratings—the method is a bit different than the letter grade assigned Perry—for being pro-growth. Romney is also assessed as pro-growth, but the Club sees his stance on government healthcare as potentially troubling.
Two events of national significance are on the candidate calendar.
Sen. Jim DeMint and his ‘Keep Your Powder Dry’ caucus will hold a Presidential Forum in Columbia, S.C. on Labor Day (Sept. 5), but not all candidates will participate because invites were issued on the basis of polling. A Presidential Forum Facebook page explained invites will go to candidates, “who have achieved a 5% threshold in the realclearpolitics.com 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination RCP Average as is posted on that site on August 22, 2011 at 1PM Eastern Daylight Time.”
CNN said 8 candidates have been invited to the forum in the key early primary state. So far Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and businessman Herman Cain have accepted.
The Facebook announcement said the forum format will be unique, “to allow invited candidates to engage in a thoughtful, substantive discussion of their stances on the critical issues facing our country. Candidates will be featured on stage one-at-a-time and will engage in a question and answer session with three panelists: U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), U.S. Representative Steve King (R-IA), and Dr. Robert P. George, founder of the American Principles Project and a professor at Princeton University.”
The forum is sponsored by the American Principles Project.
After the forum, candidates will head to the Ronald Reagan Library in California for a debate on Sept. 7.
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(Filed by Kay B. Day/August 24, 2011)
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