Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer plans visit to Iowa to test the political waters

February 15, 2011
Photo of Buddy Roemer

Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer

A new face may be emerging in the race for President of the United States in 2012, Buddy Roemer. The former governor of Louisiana announced that he will be attending Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Spring Event on March 7.

Charles Elson “Buddy” Roemer III was the 52nd Governor of Louisiana, serving from 1988 to 1992. He was elected as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican party in March 1991. Prior to becoming governor, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 1988. Roemer is currently President and CEO of Business First Bank in Baton Rouge.

In January Politico reported that Roemer was looking to get back into politics and making a run for President of the United States. Roemer was quoted saying: “It certainly interests me. There is a lot of work to be done. I’m not running today. It will take months to work out if it happens.”

As governor, Roemer worked to boost lagging teacher pay and toughened laws on campaign finance. Roemer was also the first governor in that state’s history to make a real effort to address environmental issues. The legislature repeatedly opposed Roemer’s initiatives and he gained a reputation for being difficult to work with, something he had been frequently accused of as a member of the House as well.

In 1990, Roemer vetoed an anti-abortion bill authored by Democratic Senator Mike Cross. Roemer believed that the Cross bill, which would have banned abortion in cases of incent, was incompatible with the United States Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.  The veto alienated much of his socially conservative electoral base. The bill was then passed over Roemer’s veto. In 1991, United States District Judge Adrian G. Duplantier decreed that the measure was in conflict with Roe v. Wade, as Roemer had foreseen.


CPAC comes to a close, Rep. Ron Paul wins straw poll

February 13, 2011

U.S. Congressman Ron Paul

The 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which drew thousands of conservative activists to Washington, D.C. over the past three days, has wrapped up. Although the Iowa caucuses will be the first state test of the nominating fight about a year from now, most of the GOP’s presidential prospects tried to impress as many of the nation’s most active conservatives as they could during the conference.

The conference is sponsored by the American Conservative Union. It dates to 1973, when then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan was the featured speaker to an audience of about 125.

CPAC has grown substantially in numbers since 1973, and become a place where economic and social conservatives come together in search of common ground, as key constituencies in the Republican Party. Nearly 10,000 Republican strategists, vendors and activists from around the country were in attendance.

Familiar Republicans spoke at the conference, including Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former New Hampshire Gov. Mitt Romney, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Herman Cain, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and South Dakota Sen. John Thune. Iowa Rep. Steve King also played a visible part in the conference, speaking to the general audience and serving as a participant in forums on immigration and tax policy.

After former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson supporters suggested he was snubbed at CPAC for supporting gay rights and marijuana legalization, Johnson scored a last-minute speaking invitation.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee did not attend CPAC due to scheduling conflicts.

A key feature of the conference is the Presidential Straw Poll, which this year included the names of 15 Republicans. Winning the greatest number of votes was U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, he garnered 30 percent. Paul finished ahead of Mitt Romney getting 23 percent, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christi and Gary Johnson each receiving 6 percent.

The Texas congressman, a libertarian-thinking Republican, earned an ardent following in the 2008 GOP presidential primaries.

While straw polls don’t always match up with results of presidential primaries, they do take the political temperature of those who participate. Paul’s message of smaller government apparently resonated with conference-goers, as their number one issue, according to the poll results, was the size and role of government. In the January 2008 Iowa Republican caucuses, Mike Huckabee received the greatest number of delegates, followed by Mitt Romney, John McCain and Ron Paul.

New Iowa Poll: Mike Huckabee in near dead heat with President Obama

January 16, 2011

According to the latest poll, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who says he is considering a presidential run in 2012, is making some inroads in Iowa. Huckabee has made six trips to the state to court Iowa voters, and his message is apparently beginning to resonate.

Huckabee received 43 percent support in the new poll taken by the Public Policy Polling (PPP). President Obama, who won the Democratic party nomination in the 2008 Iowa caucus, received 47 percent support in the same poll. The margin of error is 3 percent, making it a near dead heat.

In Iowa, we see the same two tiers of electability as in most other states: Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee remaining competitive with President Obama, and Newt Gingrich and especially Sarah Palin headed for blowout defeats,” said Dean Debnam, president of PPP.

In a match-up between the President and Republican Mitt Romney, Obama defeats Romney by six percentage points, 47 percent to 41 percent. In other match-ups, Newt Gingrich trailed Obama by 13 points, 51 percent to 38 percent; and Sarah Palin, trailing 53 percent to 37 percent.

Iowans also gave President Obama a 50 percent job performance approval rating, only 43 percent disapprove, which is a reversal of the 43-52 he posted the last time PPP polled the state, in late May 2010.

Forty-two percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of the former Arkansas governor, compared to 39 percent who viewed him unfavorably. For Romney, 37 percent favorable and 42 percent unfavorable; Gingrich 30 percent favorable and 49 percent unfavorable, and Palin 34 percent favorable and 59 percent unfavorable.

The poll was conducted Jan. 7-9, 2011, among 1,077 Iowans.

Debate to Air on ABC Between Iowa’s First in the Nation Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary

December 19, 2010

ABC News and WMUR-TV (ABC’s Hearst-owned affiliate in Manchester, NH) are joining forces to host a Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire between the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire’s primary in 2012. The debate will be held at a critical juncture in the Republican nomination process, just before the primary season begins. The specific date and time of this debate will be determined once the dates for the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary have been determined. The debate will air locally on WMUR-TV and nationally on the ABC Television Network, and streamed live on and

ABC News and WMUR-TV co-hosted back-to-back Democratic and Republican presidential debates in 2008. According to ABC News, more than 9 million viewers across the country tuned in to watch the Democratic debate and 7.35 million the Republican debate.

The days between Iowa and New Hampshire have often been make-or-break for candidates and we look forward to putting the crucial questions of the day to the contenders for the Republican nomination,” said incoming ABC News President Ben Sherwood.

For a complete listing of other scheduled debates, visit the “Key dates” section of this site.

Obama’s Job Approval Rating Score Sheet

December 19, 2010

Photo of Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama’s job approval rating had been holding fairly steady in the mid-40% range since the midterm elections in November. His average rating for the week leading up to the midterm elections was 45%.

The current eight-poll average shows an erosion in approval of the President by two percentage points to 43%. Results from surveys taken last week may be reflecting the public’s reaction to the President’s deal with Republican congressional leaders on extending the Bush-era income tax cuts and federal unemployment benefits. Although Democrats have been the most supportive of the President, many disapproved of the deal with Republicans.

The task for Obama at this juncture is to win back enough support from the public for re-election in 2012. All incumbent presidents since Harry Truman that had an approval rating above 50% and sought re-election were successful in their re-election bid.

Approve Disapprove Poll
46% 45% Gallup 12/15-17
40% 51% Fox News 12/14-15
39% 53% YouGov 12/11-14
45% 48% NBC/WSJ 12/9-13
47% 47% ABC/Post 12/9-12
39% 61% Zogby 12/8-10
42% 50% Marist/McClatchy 12/2-8
47% 48% Bloomberg 12/4-7
43% 50% Average for all eight polls

Pawlenty’s book tour to stop in Iowa

December 11, 2010
Photo of Tim Pawlenty

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

Potential Republican presidential contender Tim Pawlenty’s upcoming book tour will take him to Iowa. The outgoing governor of Minnesota is also scheduled to attend a dinner in Waukee in January.

Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011 

  • Book signing, Ankeny, IA 
  • Speech at the Waukee Chamber of Commerce Dinner

Monday, Jan. 31, 2011 

  • Book signing, West Des Moines, IA

Tim Pawlenty’s book – Courage to Stand – will come out Jan. 11. Pawlenty will kick off his book tour two days later with an appearance at the National Press Club and a book signing in the nation’s capital. He will sign books in Ankeny on Jan. 30 and make a speech to the Waukee Chamber of Commerce Dinner later that day. The following day he signs books in West Des Moines.

According to a release issued today, “Governor Pawlenty writes about growing up in the gritty meat-packing town of South St. Paul, his political battles as governor of Minnesota, and his vision for a better America.” Freedom First PAC, Pawlenty’s political action committee, has published the first excerpts of the governor’s book.

Book tours have led to formal campaigns for many previous presidential candidates. Iowa will play a prominent role in choosing a presidential nominee. Iowa’s caucuses are the first in the nation in the presidential primary season.

Pawlenty’s announcement last year that he would not run for a third term as governor was the first serious indication that he was considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination. He has already made six trips to Iowa since November of last year.

Gary Johnson’s campaign – going Up in Smoke

December 10, 2010

Plastic bag of marijuanaFormer New Mexico governor Gary Johnson recently admitted that he smoked marijuana for three years – for medicinal purposes. However, medical marijuana wasn’t legal in New Mexico at the time he was using it.  

Johnson was a Republican governor from 1995 to 2003. He was involved in a near-fatal crash in 2005 when his paragliding wing got caught in a tree and he fell nearly 50 feet to the ground, breaking multiple bones, including his back.  

According to Johnson: “Rather than using painkillers, which I have used on occasion before, I did smoke pot.”

Johnson, who has shown interest in running for president in 2012, also said he believes marijuana should be legalized and taxed. Some political analysts believe the former governor’s revelation – of fairly recent illegal drug use – may have caused his potential candidacy to go “up in smoke.”

Use of an illegal substance isn’t Johnson’s only cause of notoriety. While governor, he vetoed 750 bills, which is more than the vetoes of all 49 other governors over the same period combined.

Johnson has been traveling throughout the key battleground states, including Iowa, and is campaigning on a platform of dissatisfaction with out-of-control federal spending, health care and the U.S. Immigration policy. He is also anti-war and pro-choice, and places emphasis on state’s rights and personal liberties. Johnson’s counter-intuitive stances could actually help him draw support from all directions of the political spectrum.

But he has a tough sell in Iowa if he wants to stake his campaign on legalizing cannabis in the United States.