Monday, 25 July 2011

Two New Possibles in 2012 GOP Race: Jeb Bush, Rick Perry

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As if the list of GOP presidential candidates were not long enough, two new names were tossed around this weekend as possible contenders: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Texas Governor Rick Perry. Likewise, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, though not running for President, has indicated that he will be leaving an imprint on the 2012 Republican campaign and will be traveling to Iowa.

In an appearance Friday on Sean Hannity's Fox New program, Jeb Bush announced that he should not indefinitely be counted out in 2012.

On the special edition of the Sean Hannity show, a member of the audience asked Governor Bush if he would consider running for President, to which Bush replied, “You never say never.” He added, jokingly, “but I’m never ruling out being on 'Dancing with the Stars' either. The 8-ball that I have on my desk — that I used to make the big decisions when I was governor — says ‘outlook not so good.’”

Bush continued:

But there’s a lot of ways that you can make a difference. Bob Weiss and I are involved in educational reform. I’m involved in supporting a lot of causes, where, you know, my voice is heard and people that share my belief are excited about moving forward. I can play a role without being a candidate.

Hannity then asked whether he would consider serving as educational czar under a Republican president, as education has been his focus and his passion. Bush responded:

I would say that education czar is probably the wrong thing. We don’t need any more czars. We’ve had more than our fair share of czars.… It’s important to realize that the reforms that are necessary are going to have to happen state by state because that’s where the laws are. The federal government’s role has got to be really limited in my point of view.

The interview with Hannity came just one day after Jeb Bush’s son, George P. Bush, told the Daily Caller that he believes his father should seek a presidential bid. The son seemed pessimistic at the possibility of his father’s run, however, asserting that the notion of “Bush fatigue” was weighing on his father’s presidential considerations. He added:

I think that time will only continue to benefit not only my uncle’s record [former President George W. Bush], but my dad’s opportunity to run for higher office. Make no mistake about it, I think a lot of people sorely miss and would relish some sort of return of that type of approach to leading our country.

It’s not do or die in this cycle by any means. My dad’s a young guy.

Also on Friday, Texas Governor Rick Perry spoke at a forum in Aspen, Colorado, where he touched on the possibility of a presidential bid. When the moderator pressed him on his presidential ambitions, Perry responded that he was still “going through a thoughtful process,” adding:

I’m asking the right questions. I’m basically asking people, "Do you think there’s room in the presidential election for a full-throated, unapologetic fiscal conservative? And if you do think there’s room, are you going to help?"

During the same conference, Perry touched on New York’s recent passage of the same-sex marriage bill. He indicated that as a social conservative, he is opposed to gay marriage, but as a proponent of state’s rights, supports New York’s recent passage of the gay marriage bill:

Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, that’s their business, and that’s fine with me. That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.

Some contend that Perry’s assertions may ostracize his evangelical base. CBN News’ The Brody Report wrote:

I’m sure the majority of conservative evangelicals are big believers in the 10th amendment but the fundamental question seems to be this: When does a federal constitutional amendment trump the 10th amendment? What issue qualifies? Isn’t marriage one of those issues? Perry is basically saying anything goes for each state. His take seems to be if you don’t like gay marriage, don’t move to New York.

While Jeb Bush and Rick Perry made headlines with their presidential considerations this weekend, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie has garnered national attention in anticipation of his appearance in Iowa today at an education conference in Des Moines.

Though Christie himself has continually denied requests to seek a presidential bid, several GOP contenders have sought his advice and support. According to Christie’s political adviser, “If he feels compelled that he can make a difference, he may endorse a candidate.”

Some analysts believe Christie’s appearance in Iowa could help Republicans. The Blaze writes that it “brings national attention at a time when GOP voters have been slow to embrace the field of announced candidates.”

Influential Iowa Republican lobbyist and lawyer Doug Gross comments:

Any time Christie comes out here, he’s obviously going to take some air out of the room. He again creates this sense that the current field isn’t complete or isn’t sufficient.

Though Christie has been asked a number of times to consider running for President in 2012, he has repeatedly indicated that considerations of his four school-age children and his desire to serve out his term as Governor of New Jersey prevent him from doing so.

But as noted by The Blaze, Christie’s nationwide popularity continues to increase:

He has drawn praise from fiscal hawks and loud complaints from public-sector unions for efforts to trim benefits for public employees as part of steep budget cuts in his first two years in office.

Christie is pursuing education measures aimed at abolishing indefinite tenure for teachers and establishing merit-based pay. [Iowa Gov. Terry] Branstad said last week he will propose linking teacher pay raises to classroom performance.

Therefore, Christie’s presence in Iowa could very well prove to be beneficial for Republicans, and an endorsement from him could have a positive impact on whichever candidate earns it.

Photo montage: (Clockwise, from upper left), Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

 

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