Posts tagged ‘John McCain’

May 27, 2011

Sarah Palin will embark this weekend on a campaign-style bus tour along the East Coast, sending a jolt through …

Palin to embark on East Coast bus tour
May 27, 2011, 2:03 a.m. EDT
Associated PressJournal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Selection Poll B.O.Page!

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP)Sarah Palin will embark this weekend on a campaign-style bus tour along the East Coast, sending a jolt through the now-sleepy Republican presidential contest and thrusting a telegenic but divisive politician back into the nation’s spotlight.

Palin’s tour announcement is the strongest signal yet that she is considering a presidential bid, despite her failure to take traditional steps such as organizing a campaign team in early primary states.

The former Alaska governor’s approval ratings have fallen across the board — including among Republicans — in recent months. But many conservatives adore her, and she has enough name recognition and charisma to shake up a GOP contest that at this point seems to be focusing on three male former governors.

Beginning Sunday, Palin plans to meet with veterans and visit historic sites that her political action committee calls key to the country’s formation, survival and growth. The tour follows reports that Palin has bought a house in Arizona and the disclosure that she’s authorized a feature-length film about her career, which could serve as a campaign centerpiece. She recently said she has “that fire in the belly” for a presidential bid.

Palin said on the website for SarahPAC that the nation is at a “critical turning point,” and that her bus tour will serve as a reminder of “who we are and what Americans stand for.”

Many Republican Party insiders say that Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee, has engaged in too many political spats and soap-opera dramas to win the nomination and challenge President Barack Obama 18 months from now.

“I think that pathway is closed,” said GOP pollster Wes Anderson, who is not working for any presidential candidate. Still, Anderson said, it’s not surprising that Palin would look at the current field “and say, ‘Why not me?'”

A Gallup poll of Republicans, taken before Palin announced the bus tour, showed former Massachusetts Mitt Romney favored by 17 percent. Palin followed closely at 15 percent. Ron Paul had 10 percent, Newt Gingrich 9 percent, Herman Cain 8 percent, Tim Pawlenty 6 percent, and Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman 5 percent each.

Party insiders argue that Pawlenty, a former Minnesota governor, and Huntsman, a former Utah governor, have the best chances to compete with Romney over the long haul. But a Palin candidacy could affect the contest in unpredictable ways.

In Iowa, Palin could appeal to thousands of religious conservatives who participate heavily in the nation’s first presidential caucus. But she lacks, for now at least, the ground organization considered essential to getting supporters to the caucus meetings, held every four years on a winter night. Palin fans are laying the groundwork for such an organization on their own in hopes that she will run.

If she does, she might challenge orthodoxy by using her star power and fame, not ground troops, to compete in Iowa.

Palin appears regularly on Fox News. She has hosted a reality TV show, and her oldest daughter has a TV show of her own. Palin has written a best-selling book, and draws large crowds when she appears at book stores, rallies and other events.

Limited details of Palin’s “One Nation” tour were released on the website of SarahPAC. The tour is to start in Washington and move up the East Coast into New England, perhaps even to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.

SarahPAC’s treasurer didn’t immediately return messages Thursday seeking details.

“It’s imperative that we connect with our founders, our patriots, our challenges and victories to clearly see our way forward,” Palin said on the website. “A good way to do this is to appreciate the significance of our nation’s historic sites, patriotic events and diverse cultures, which we’ll do in the coming weeks on our ‘One Nation’ tour.”

Palin said the country doesn’t need fundamental transformation but a “restoration of all that is good and strong and free in America.”

As Sen. John McCain‘s running mate in 2008, Palin electrified the Republican nominating convention audience, and brought energy and vigor to a struggling campaign. But she stumbled in news interviews and sometimes seemed out of her depth on national and international issues.

Since then, Palin has often depicted herself as the victim of mean-spirited enemies, including some news organizations. Critics said she showed a lack of compassion and political savvy when she delivered a sharp-tongued commentary days after an Arizona congressman was gravely injured in a shooting.

Fox News said Thursday it was not changing Palin’s status as a paid commentator, a sign that network officials do not consider a presidential run imminent.

___

Babington reported from Washington. Associated Press Television Writer David Bauder in New York contributed to this report.

_________________________________________________________

Video Section:


PS., Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Make Your Selection Below!

 

_________________________________________________________________

Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: 

Thank you for visiting, do come back for more news…
Warmest regards,

May 20, 2011

Tim Pawlenty: A laid-back Midwestern Republican is running for president and will declare his candidacy on …

APNewsBreak: Aide: Pawlenty running for president
May 20, 2011, 2:49 p.m. EDT
Associated Press

Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com

Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Selection Poll B.O.Page!


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a laid-back Midwestern Republican who governed a Democratic-leaning state, is running for president and will declare his candidacy on Monday in the leadoff caucus state of Iowa, an adviser told The Associated Press.

The adviser, who disclosed the plans on the condition of anonymity in advance of next week’s announcement, said Pawlenty will formally enter the race during a town hall-style event in Des Moines, Iowa.

He’s choosing to make his long-expected bid official in a critical state in his path to the GOP nomination. Advisers acknowledge that Pawlenty, 50, must win or turn in a strong showing during next winter’s caucuses in the neighboring state of Iowa to have any chance of becoming the Republican who will challenge President Barack Obama, a Democrat, next November.

After Monday’s announcement, he will head to Florida, New Hampshire, New York and Washington, D.C.

The move is no surprise.

Pawlenty been laying the groundwork for a national campaign since John McCain passed him over in 2008 as his vice presidential nominee. He has worked to boost his national profile, assemble a staff, travel the country and build a fundraising network, all while positioning himself as a Republican with a record of resisting increases in taxes and government spending. He left the governor’s post in January and he took the first step toward the presidency two months later by setting up an exploratory committee.

In the early stages of the campaign, he has struggled to raise his standing in polls or attract a niche constituency as Republicans with more star power — former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and celebrity businessman Donald Trump — dangled themselves as possible candidates, only to opt out of bids.

Pawlenty has some big obstacles as he seeks the GOP nomination in a wide-open field.

He is not nearly as well known nationally as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and even libertarian-leaning Texas Rep. Ron Paul. And others with even bigger names — Sarah Palin — still may enter the fray. So too may a fellow Minnesotan, Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is a darling of the tea party and has indicated she’s likely to launch a campaign soon.

The low-key Pawlenty also is fighting an impression at least within the GOP establishment that he’s too bland to excite voters. He also has no personal wealth and isn’t uniquely aligned with any one Republican faction — like social conservatives or fiscal Republicans — as are other candidates.

But in a GOP field with no clear favorite, Pawlenty hopes that he can cobble together a winning coalition of voters by attracting a wide array of Republicans, from religious conservatives to tea party adherents to establishment figures. As he travels the country, he boasts of reining in state spending and blocking tax hikes during two terms as Minnesota’s governor, as well as stressing his working-class roots and evangelical Christian faith.

“I’m the only candidate in the field who can unite the whole Republican Party, not just one part of it, in a genuine and authentic way, and then go out an appeal to the whole country,” Pawlenty said this week before a fundraiser in Minnesota.

He points to his record in Minnesota as proof that he can have appeal across the ideological spectrum.

Pawlenty, who passed up an opportunity to run for a third term as governor to seek the presidency, won the governors’ office twice without a majority of the vote in races that included third-party candidates. During his tenure, Pawlenty had to contend with a Legislature that was partly or fully controlled by Democrats the eight years he was governor.

Minnesota’s divided government led to repeated legislative battles and a partial government shutdown one year. Pawlenty also frequently vetoed tax and spending bills, earning a reputation in the GOP as a fiscal conservative. He pleased social conservatives as well by signing new abortion restrictions and laws favored by pro-gun groups.

But some of his past actions also have drawn tea party skepticism.

Even some Republicans flinched when he used billions in federal stimulus dollars and once agreed to hike state cigarette charges to balance Minnesota’s budget. And Democrats pound him frequently over the $5 billion deficit his Minnesota successor is coping with for the upcoming state budget, although the state will turn a small surplus this summer when the last fiscal year under Pawlenty’s direct control ends.

Pawlenty’s former embrace of energy policies scorned by conservatives — such as a cap-and-trade system to limit emissions of greenhouse gases — have also been problematic. Pawlenty has disavowed his former stance and apologized for the “clunker” in his record.

Even so, it’s not his record that’s likely to be his biggest challenge. It’s being heard in a crowded field.

Part of the reason: unlike others, he typically shies from the caustic comments and headline-grabbing issues. It’s part of a strategy to come off as a serious-minded candidate in sober times. But his approach has also played into the characterization of him as dull.

Advisers hope that Pawlenty’s ability to connect with small crowds in diners and living rooms will help him win over skeptics in the places where he needs to shine — Iowa and New Hampshire, where voters demand their candidates engage in that type of retail politics. He’s somewhat of a natural at it. He’s good with small talk, often makes goofy poses in keepsake photos and sticks around to shake all hands, helping explain why he’s notoriously behind schedule.

In those settings, he discusses not just what he’d do for the country but also much about his personal story: his boyhood in a blue-collar household in a meatpacking town, his mother’s death of cancer in his teen years. As an adult, he went on to a white-collar job as a lawyer and set down a political path took him from a suburban city hall to a seat in the state Legislature to, eventually, the governor’s post.

“He is doing the soft sell and the soft sell works in the long run,” said Andy Brehm, a Republican strategist in Minnesota. “This is an entirely self-made guy. I don’t think you could ask for a better spokesman for the free market ideas. He’s worked himself up really from nothing.”

Pawlenty and his wife, Mary, a former judge, have two teenage daughters, Anna and Mara.

_________________________________________________________

Video Section:

_________________________________________________________________

Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: 

Thank you for visiting, do come back for more news…
Warmest regards,

PS., Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Make Your Selection Below!

May 11, 2011

He mocked Republican lawmakers for blocking immigration over border security

Obama mocks Republican position on immigration
May 10, 2011, 9:35 p.m. EDT
Associated Press

Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com

Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Selection Poll at B.O.Page!

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — In search of Hispanic votes and a long-shot immigration overhaul, President Barack Obama on Tuesday stood at the U.S.-Mexico border for the first time since winning the White House and declared it more secure than ever.

He mocked Republican lawmakers for blocking immigration over border security alone, saying they won’t be happy until they get a moat with alligators along the border.

“They’ll never be satisfied,” he said.

Stymied by both chambers of Congress, the president ditched lawmakers in favor of voters who might pressure them, making an appeal to the public on a hot and dusty day far outside Washington. He told a friendly El Paso crowd that it’s up to them to tell Congress to pass legislation providing a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.

The approach also allowed the president to make clear that it’s Republicans — not him — standing in the way of immigration legislation. As his re-election campaign approaches it’s a message he wants broadcast loud and clear to Latino voters who don’t like his administration’s heavy deportations and feel he never made good on his promise to prioritize immigration legislation during his first year in office.

“I am asking you to add your voices to this,” Obama said. “We need Washington to know that there is a movement for reform gathering strength from coast to coast. That’s how we’ll get this done.”

Countering Republican calls to focus on border security before moving to a comprehensive overhaul, Obama boasted of increasing Border Patrol agents, nearing completion of a border fence and screening more cargo, among other steps.

“We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement,” Obama said. “But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I gotta say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time.”

“Maybe they’ll need a moat,” he said derisively to laughter from the crowd. “Maybe they’ll want alligators in the moat.”

“The question is whether those in Congress who previously walked away in the name of enforcement are now ready to come back to the table and finish the work we’ve started,” he said.

Obama also tailored his argument to the times, making his case for immigration reform in newly sharpened economic terms. He said the middle class would benefit from bringing illegal immigrants out of an underground economy and drawing on the abilities of immigrants educated at American universities. Obama also noted that it’s not just Latinos who want an immigration remake, but also police chiefs, business owners, educators and others.

His speech broke no new policy ground, though, and he declined to offer a bill or call on Congress to send him one by a particular deadline — a bow to political realities on Capitol Hill. Republicans who control the House are hostile to overhaul legislation.

And as if to underscore how faintly his call for immigration reform would resonate in Congress, two key border state Republicans immediately responded with a statement demanding to know: “President Obama speaks about our broken immigration system; but what about our broken borders?” The statement was from Republican Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain of Arizona, the latter Obama’s 2008 presidential opponent and a one-time supporter of comprehensive overhaul legislation.

Obama’s personal pitch was the latest step in a visible campaign to build support and pressure on Republicans to act. He went so far as to encourage people to sign up to help him at the White House website. He said it was up to the American people to drive the debate and isolate areas where both parties can agree.

Politically, Obama sought to have it both ways.

He said he would lead a “constructive and civil debate” on the issue but publicly questioned the motives of Republicans and their ability to keep their word.

And it remained unclear how mocking Republican calls for border security would get Obama any closer to his goal of bipartisan legislation.

Just across the Rio Grande from the Chamizal National Park, where Obama spoke, the Ciudad Juarez park has been used by criminals to dump the bodies of rivals. A nearby entertainment district, within sight of a major bridge into the United States, has been the scene of numerous shootouts among rival cartels and authorities.

The president made his pitch in a state he lost by more than 10 percentage points in 2008 and is unlikely to pick up in 2012. But Hispanic voters are critical to the president’s re-election. Latinos accounted for more than 7 percent of voters in the 2008 presidential election, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, and their numbers are greater in certain swing states like Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida.

The trip had a more overtly political component too. From El Paso, the president headed to the relatively liberal bastion of Austin to raise money for the Democratic National Committee at two events. A total of about 800 people paid $44 to $35,800 to attend.

The president wasn’t able to get immigration legislation through Congress last year that would have provided a route to legal status for college students and others who were brought to the country as children. The so-called DREAM Act passed the House, then controlled by Democrats, but was blocked by Senate Republicans.

The Senate is now even more heavily Republican, and Republicans control the House. That means immigration reform can’t happen unless they cooperate. Nonetheless, Senate Democrats plan to reintroduce the DREAM Act on Wednesday, with their counterparts in the House following suit. Given Republican opposition the bills likely won’t get far, but Obama will try to make certain voters know who to blame.

___

Erica Werner reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Ben Feller, Suzanne Gamboa, Jim Kuhnhenn and Alicia Caldwell in Washington contributed to this report.

_________________________________________________________________

Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of:

Thank you for visiting, do come back for more news…
Warmest regards,

PS., Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Make Your Selection Below!

May 5, 2011

A foreign policy void in GOP 2012 field

A foreign policy void in GOP 2012 field
May 5, 2011, 4:58 a.m. EDT

Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com

Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Poll Below!


WASHINGTON (AP) — The daring nighttime raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan draws a sharp contrast between President Barack Obama and a field of potential Republican challengers who have comparatively scant foreign policy experience.

That field includes at least six current or former governors, and three current or former House members. The Senate, an incubator for international affairs expertise, doesn’t have a single member running for president, although one former senator has taken steps toward a run.

The stunning news of bin Laden’s death has temporarily focused attention on foreign policy over domestic issues, and highlighted the lack of international experience in the prospective GOP field compared with the president, a Democrat who has spent more than two years overseeing two wars and, more recently, military action in Libya.

None of the Republicans weighing candidacies is a foreign policy heavyweight, and all are working to boost their credentials by traveling to distant lands and weighing in on overseas matters.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, seen within the GOP as a credible voice on fiscal issues, bluntly acknowledged earlier this week to reporters that he was “probably not” ready to debate Obama on foreign policy. He was saying publically about himself what other Republicans say privately about the entire field.

A handful of likely contenders planning to attend a GOP debate Thursday in South Carolina are likely to get at least one question dealing with national security, diplomatic affairs or bin Laden’s death. Continued criticism of Obama’s Libya policies is expected. And the dramatic killing of the al-Qaida leader may force the White House hopefuls to sharpen their international talking points and proposals sooner rather than later.

Bin Laden’s death is likely to “increase calls for us to leave Afghanistan and cut off aid to Pakistan,” Republican consultant John Feehery said.

Foreign policy plays a big role in every presidential election, even if domestic issues usually dominate.

Americans typically say they want a president with a solid international resume, but they don’t always vote that way.

With few exceptions, governors have little or no meaningful foreign policy experience. Yet since 1976, three governors (Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton) have defeated incumbent presidents. And Texas Gov. George W. Bush defeated a vice president. Obama himself had thin foreign policy credentials when he defeated Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam war hero who was heavily involved in national security matters for years.

Among this crop of Republicans weighing candidacies, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman may have the most immediate and concentrated foreign experience, having just finished his stint as U.S. ambassador to China. Huntsman was a young Mormon missionary to Taiwan, and he speaks Mandarin Chinese. He also has served as U.S. ambassador to Singapore and U.S. trade ambassador.

Conversely, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is in her third term, may have the most modest international experience of those weighing bids. She has traveled to Iraq and has been a member of the House Intelligence Committee since January.

A look at how others stack up:

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and venture capitalist, traveled to more than 30 countries as a businessman, Olympics official and politician.

Recently, he has said that Obama “has been unable to construct a foreign policy” because of his “fundamental disbelief in American exceptionalism.” America is seen as weak, Romney said, because “we’re following the French into Libya” to support those rebelling against Moammar Gadhafi.

—Tim Pawlenty made trade missions and troop visits as Minnesota governor to Iraq, India, China, Brazil, Chile, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Germany, Israel, Kosovo, Kuwait, Poland, Spain and other places.

He was among the first to call for a no-fly zone to protect Libya’s rebels from Gadhafi’s forces. And he criticized Obama for taking almost two more weeks to take that step.

—Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker best known for his interest in domestic issues such as tax policy and health care, sits on the Council on Foreign Relations’ terrorism task force, and teaches at the National Defense University.

He calls for a muscular approach to combating terrorism. But he was widely mocked recently for an about-face on Libyan policy. First he said he would “exercise a no-fly zone” and get rid of Gadhafi. Two weeks later, he said: “I would not have intervened. … I would not have used American and European forces.”

—Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and 2008 Iowa caucus winner, has traveled extensively, including numerous trips to Israel.

He was criticized in 2007 for saying that, as president, he would strike at terrorists inside Pakistan with or without permission from that country’s leaders. It looks rather prescient in light of this week’s events; Obama didn’t notify Pakistan before authorizing the raid that killed bin Laden.

—Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, spent much of his Capitol Hill career serving on committees covering agriculture, banking, housing and urban affairs, and other domestic matters.

Lately, he has accused Obama of “dithering” in Libya and creating a “morass” because he let the international community take the lead in aiding Gadhafi’s opponents.

—Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee and former Alaska governor, was widely ridiculed for suggesting she had foreign policy credentials because “you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.”

She has worked to expand her foreign experience, including trips to Iraq, India and Israel.

___

Associated Press writers Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Minn., Andrew Miga in Washington, Jay Root in Austin, Texas, and Shannon McCaffrey in Atlanta contributed to this report.

_________________________________________________________

Video Section:

_________________________________________________________________

Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: 

Thank you for visiting, do come back for more news…
Warmest regards,

PS., Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Poll Below!

April 28, 2011

The National Rifle Association will oppose President Barack Obama’s re-election 2012

NRA will actively oppose Obama re-election

Posted by Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,
Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com
Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Poll Below!

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The National Rifle Association will oppose President Barack Obama’s re-election next year, because the group expects an assault on Second Amendmentrights if the president serves a second term, the organization’s leader said Wednesday.

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president and CEO, told The Associated Press on Wednesday — the eve of its annual convention in Pittsburgh — that the group’s opposition to President Obama is “no surprise,” but it felt a need to come out early and strongly.

LaPierre believes the president has tried to “fog the issue through the 2012 election” and obscure his long-standing opposition to gun owners’ rights.

“President Obama gives lip service to the Second Amendment, but what I really believe is going on is it’s just not a convenient time for a fight on the Second Amendment” politically for Obama, LaPierre said.

LaPierre said Obama, as an Illinois state senator, voted for or otherwise supported handgun bans, semi-automatic weapons bans, eliminating right-to-carry laws and raising excise taxes on guns, among other things.

“Then he announced for president and leafleted the country saying there’s no difference between Barack Obama and John McCain,” LaPierre said.

Although Congress approved expanded rights for people to bring guns onto Amtrak trains and carry them in national parks during his first term, President Obama’s administration includes “people who’ve spent their lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment,” LaPierre said, naming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Obama’s two Supreme Court appointees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

“You’ve got two Supreme Court nominations that pretty well throw down the gauntlet about what this election’s about,” LaPierre said. “One more (Obama) Supreme Court nominee breaks the back of the Second Amendment in this country.”

“That’s what’s in store for gun owners in this country” if President Obama is re-elected, LaPierre said.

That’s why the NRA, which typically waits until the election year to throw its weight behind — or against — candidates, is speaking up now, LaPierre said.

The White House declined to comment, but referred to an editorial the president submitted last month to The Arizona Daily Star.

In it, Obama reiterated that he believes “the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms” and notes, as LaPierre did, a change in the law allowing gun owners to carry weapons in national parks and wildlife refuges.

The president called for better enforcement of firearms laws and improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. He also called for a discussion about “common-sense” gun regulations.

“Others will predictably cast any discussion as the opening salvo in a wild-eyed scheme to take away everybody’s guns,” Obama wrote, without naming names. “And such hyperbole will become the fodder for overheated fundraising letters.”

_________________________________________________________

Video Section:

_________________________________________________________________

Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: 

 Thank you for visiting, do come back for more news…

Warmest regards,

PS., Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Poll Below!

April 26, 2011

GOP Gov. Haley Barbour bowed out of presidential contention Monday

Barbour out, GOP ponders as 2012 field takes shape

Posted by Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,
Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com
Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Poll Below!

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Republican Gov. Haley Barbour bowed out of presidential contention Monday with a surprise announcement just as the 2012 campaign was getting under way in earnest, 18 months before Election Day. The Mississippi governor said he lacked the necessary “absolute fire in the belly” to run.

Barbour’s declaration, unexpected because he had been laying the groundwork for a campaign for months, thins a Republican cluster of no less than a dozen potential candidates to take on Democratic President Barack Obama.

With the GOP campaign’s first debate scheduled for next week, the muddy Republican field will become clearer very soon as more potential contenders announce whether they’ll run or sit out. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who lost in 2008 and is a favorite of libertarians as well as tea partyers, is planning to take a step toward a second bid on Tuesday. The next facing a self-imposed deadline of this weekend, is Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Barbour friend and a fiscal conservative who has shined a spotlight on rising budget deficits and national debt.

“All eyes will be on Daniels. … It’s a clear path for him if he wants to run,” said Doug Gross, an Iowa Republican who dined with Barbour last month and left questioning whether the governor had the hunger to get in the race.

It turns out he didn’t.

“I will not be a candidate for president next year,” the two-term governor said a statement, adding that he wasn’t ready for a “10-year commitment to an all-consuming effort.”

As the GOP race comes into sharper focus, Obama is working to both prevent an erosion of his support while under Republican attack and to raise enough money to overwhelm his eventual foe. He’s been packing his schedule with fundraisers and visits to battleground states as he gears up for what he says will be a tough campaign.

This week alone, he will raise money in New York and return to his hometown of Chicago — also the site of his campaign headquarters — to tape an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” He then will head to Florida, a pivotal swing state, to deliver a commencement address at Miami Dade College and attend the launch of Endeavour, NASA’s next-to-last space shuttle flight.

Potentially vulnerable, Obama has middling poll ratings and is seeking a second term in a country reeling over high unemployment, rising gas prices and the remnants of recession.

Yet, the GOP faces plenty of its own troubles.

Its field lacks a front-runner. Most of the candidates are largely unknown to Republicans. The most recent Associated Press-GfK poll indicated that only half of all Republicans were satisfied by their choices and a third were dissatisfied.

Unlike four years ago, GOP presidential hopefuls have been hesitant to rush into the race. Many have been mindful of the long slog and huge costs of a campaign. Several also have been waiting to see what the first half of the year would bring, when the focus would be on the new House GOP majority and its tangles with the Democratic administration.

But now, the clock is ticking, and candidates are under pressure to commit to participating in multi-candidate events.

Neither a forum in New Hampshire on Friday nor a debate in Greenville, S.C., next week — the first of the campaign — is expected to draw a full slate of candidates. No such slate exists yet.

So far, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who lost the nomination in 2008, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who was on John McCain’s vice presidential short list, have set up presidential exploratory committees allowing them raise money for full-fledged campaigns. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is expected to make his campaign official as early as next week.

A cluster of lesser-knowns also have inched toward the race, including former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Many Republicans had expected Barbour would be the next one in, given his recent activity.

He had visited several states with early presidential contests, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. He also had lined up a large network of political advisers. And he had tested an economy-focused campaign speech in Chicago last month. The governor had even lost some weight as advisers had suggested, and they had been plotting an “announcement tour” in which he would declare himself a candidate.

But several allies said Barbour, known as one of the smartest political operatives in the GOP, ultimately decided he didn’t have what it takes to win.

He could have been a formidable contender had he entered the race. He has a knack for raising money, a resume dating to Ronald Reagan’s White House and brand of folksy Southern charisma. His hurdles would have been high, too. He’s a former lobbyist and former Republican National Committee chairman who would have tried to woo a primary electorate underwhelmed by Washington insiders. Among his other vulnerabilities: what critics have called tone deafness about Mississippi’s divisive racial history.

Barbour delivered the news Monday in a phone call with some 50 people who were advising him, and then his office sent out a statement.

“A candidate for president today is embracing a 10-year commitment to an all-consuming effort, to the virtual exclusion of all else,” Barbour said in the statement. “His (or her) supporters expect and deserve no less than absolute fire in the belly from their candidate. I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required.”

Former Iowa Republican Party Chairman Richard Schwarm, who was with Barbour and Gross last month, said that Barbour mentioned during dinner that he had encouraged Daniels to run.

It’s unclear whether Daniels will heed that advice.

A onetime senior executive at Eli Lilly & Co. and a former budget director under George W. Bush, Daniels has said he would wait until his state legislature adjourns at the end of the week before considering his next plans. He says he’s done little to prepare for a campaign beyond think about it and discuss it with his family, including his wife who was cool to a White House run but has agreed to headline a major fundraiser for the state GOP next month.

At the same time, another likely candidate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, is to return to the United States early next week. His work for the Obama administration as the U.S. ambassador to China ends Sunday, and he will make his first appearance in an early primary state on May 7 in South Carolina, where he will deliver a commencement address.

He’s been barred from engaging in politics as an ambassador, but advisers have spent the past few months building a shadow campaign operation so that he will be ready to run if he chooses.

Two others weighing bids and drawing considerable attention, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and New York real estate mogul Donald Trump, have said they would decide whether to run before the summer.

It may be some time before two of the biggest question marks of the 2012 GOP nomination fight are answered: Will Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee get in the race?

Both are leaving the door wide open to candidacies, but neither seems in a rush to make any plans public. In recent months, they haven’t done much beyond give a handful of speeches and appear on Fox News, where they both have contracts.

Both will headline high-profile events over the next two weeks:

Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee and former Alaska governor, is addressing a “Heroes Among Us” fundraiser in Bethesda, Md., on Saturday and is headlining a tribute to the troops at Colorado Christian University in Denver early next week. Huckabee, the winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses and a former Arkansas governor, will speak to the National Rifle Association in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Either one would further shake up an already unpredictable race.

___(equals)

Liz Sidoti reported from Washington; Associated Press writers Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, Philip Elliott in Indianapolis and Ben Feller in Washington contributed to this report.

_________________________________________________________

Video Section:

_________________________________________________________________

Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: 

 Thank you for visiting, do come back for more news…

Warmest regards,

PS., Hello Reader, What Party Do You Want Running The US Government 2013? Poll Below!