Potential Candidates Go Head to Head in Debates Across the U.S.Tuesday, February 21, 2012 By Sasha Seliverstova
As the presidential election of 2012 quickly approaches, not only is it important to remain informed about the possible presidential candidates but also about the ways in which their ideals play out in various speeches and debates. While President Barack Obama will be running for reelection with the Democratic Party, the Republican party is busy choosing their candidate through a series of debates and caucuses all across the country. On January 03, the first preliminary caucus was held in Sioux City, Iowa. The much anticipated event received an increased amount of coverage due to the candidates’ need to win over the largly Evangelical and agrarian population. Jon Huntsman Jr. (former Governor of Utah and U.S. Ambassador to China) failed to make a big impression on the constituency while Rick Perry tried to win the viewers over by comparing himself to Tim Tebow. According to the Washington Post, he stated, "So am I ready for the next level? I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses…There are a lot of folks that said Tim Tebow wasn't going to be a very good NFL quarterback, and, you know, he won two national championships. And that looked pretty good." Texas congressman Ron Paul received the most airtime due to his popularity in Iowa and was praised for his organization and consistency. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, spent most of his time preaching to a public that had already formed anti-Gingrich ideals, accusing the politician of receiving money from mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney did very well in Iowa, falling short to Rick Santorum (Senator from Pennsylvania) by less than a percentile. These events were concluded when Minnesota congresswoman Michelle Bachmann withdrew her candidacy for president of the United States. New Hampshire was a clear win for Romney with a lead of 39% of the vote as opposed to Ron Paul carrying only 23%. According to Fox News, “The audience frequently broke out into cheers and chants of ‘Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!’ as the candidate vowed to take the fight to South Carolina.” Jon Huntsman, who was crushed at placing third in the competition, withdrew from the race so that he could support Romney. Unfortunately for Romney, things did not go as he had planned in South Carolina when Gingrich won this primary with over 40% of the vote due to the high percentage of veterans, evangelicals, and social conservatives. Gingrich had many factors rising against him as an ABC’s interview with Gingrich’s ex-wife emerged. During her interview Marianne, the former Mrs. Gingrich, accused her ex-husband of coercing her into getting an abortion. This should have made the evangelicals and the social conservatives upset, but Rick Perry was there to save the day: two days prior to voting, Rick Perry dropped out of the running for president and endorsed Newt Gingrich. Mitt Romney then tried to make a comeback in Florida by running a very negative campaign against his competitors. His plan succeeded as he stole the top seat with 46% of the vote. Romney did not stay on top for long, however, as Rick Santorum brought new competition for Gingrich and Romney. Rick Santorum won the primaries in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri by a sweeping victory on February 7 th ; he received 40% of the vote in Colorado, a 45% in Minnesota, and 55% in Missouri. Finally, in the most recent primary in Maine (between February 4–11 with some confusion due to heavy snow) Mitt Romney took the lead again with 38% of the vote, closely followed by Ron Paul with 37%, Santorum in 3rd with 18%, and Gingrich in 4th with measly 6%. The only thing that can really be determined from these Republican debates is that nothing is really certain. The country is torn between their favorite candidates as Bachmann, Huntsman, and Perry have all withdrawn their candidacies during the primaries. Unfortunately Ron Paul, who is still holding up in the running, does not seem to be a big competitor for the republican presidential candidacy amidst Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum. However, only more time and more caucuses can determine who will run for the presidency against President Barack Obama.