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July 5, 2012

On the campaign trail, June 2012

On the campaign trail, June 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, June 2012

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

The following is the eighth in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail, a Green Party presidential candidate who announced his 2012 plans to Wikinews four years ago speaks to Wikinews once again, the candidate leading the California American Independent Party presidential primary discusses his campaign, and Wikinews explores whether Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky will be selected as the Republican Party vice presidential nominee.

Summary

In June, California held presidential primary elections for both the Democratic and Republican parties. President Barack Obama was uncontested on the Democratic ballot, and easily won; as did presumptive nominee Mitt Romney on the Republican side. Other presidential primaries in California involved the American Independent, Peace and Freedom, Green, and Libertarian third parties, though not all of these were binding. In the binding Green primary, physician Jill Stein edged comedienne Roseanne Barr to secure enough delegates to become the party’s presumptive presidential nominee. As for other primaries in June, the Republican Party held its final contest in Utah late in the month with Romney easily claiming victory. Afterwards, Fred Karger, the first openly gay presidential candidate for a major party’s nomination, officially ended his campaign.

Starting off, the Obama campaign had a few difficulties in June: a jobs report for the previous month showed a spike in the unemployment rate; Democrats failed to win a recall against the Republican governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin, bolstering Romney’s prospects in the state; Romney called Obama “out of touch” for his remark that “The private sector is doing just fine”; and despite Obama’s position against extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, former Democratic president Bill Clinton suggested during a CNBC interview that in current circumstances, extending the Bush tax cuts would be “probably the best thing to do right now.” Clinton’s spokesman later clarified that Clinton backed the president’s position. However, consumer advocate and frequent presidential candidate Ralph Nader speculated that Clinton was “undermining Obama…to appear with Hillary as very friendly to business” in order to lay the groundwork for a 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential run.

Former president Bill Clinton campaigns in Wisconsin in June 2012.
Image: marctasman.

The Romney campaign faced a few challenges of its own: reports surfaced that Romney impersonated police officers in his youth; Obama attacked him for his investments’ alleged outsourcing of jobs; and vice president Joe Biden discussed his Swiss bank account, portraying him as an elitist at odds with the middle class. Nevertheless, a large amount of Romney coverage in June focused on his search for a running mate. After ABC News reported that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was not being vetted as a possible vice presidential candidate, Romney disputed the report and claimed that in fact Rubio was being vetting for the nomination. Additionally, two prospects, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, both took their names out of consideration for the spot, though Rice reportedly ‘stole the show’ at a Romney retreat. At the end of June, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio received increased mention as a potential nominee after Senator John McCain jokingly told a group of Portman interns, “now you can say you interned for Vice President Portman.”

In mid-June, Obama injected the issue of immigration into the campaign when he announced by decree that illegal immigrants at most 30 years old who entered the United States before the age of 16 and remain in good standing in their communities, would no longer be deported. During the announcement, Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro interrupted the president to ask how the move would affect American workers. A frustrated Obama acknowledged the interruption, and responded, “It’s not time for questions, sir…Not while I’m speaking.” The interruption threatened to overshadow Obama’s announcement, which analysts suggested was aimed to solidify support among Hispanics. Romney did not explicitly respond to the announcement, but said during an interview with Face the Nation that he instead would implement “a long-term solution”. About two weeks after the announcement, Washington Post analyst Aaron Blake of Chris Cillizza‘s The Fix examined polls from Quinnipiac University and reported that though many voters in the swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio favored the new policy, those concerned about the issue were much more likely to oppose it. Blake concluded that the new policy would likely help Obama in the Latino-heavy swing states of Colorado and Nevada, but might possibly hurt him in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Other political events shaped the campaign as June came to a close. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a tax. Though deemed a political victory for President Obama, Romney proclaimed that the ruling brought a “greater urgency” to the election, explaining to his base that repealing the health care bill now required Obama to be voted out of office. In the first three hours after the ruling, the Romney campaign raised one million dollars, a spokesman reported. On the same day as the decision, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over documents related to Operation Fast and Furious. President Obama claimed the documents fell under executive privilege. Many congressional Democrats walked out during the vote and accused Republicans of playing politics. Pollsters said Holder was the most unpopular member of the Obama administration but predicted groups outside the Romney campaign would focus on the issue, in order to not divert Romney from his message on the economy. The Romney campaign ran ads at the end of June that used footage of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, polled as the most popular member of the Obama administration, criticizing Obama during the 2008 primaries for “perpetuating falsehoods”, concluding with “Shame on you, Barack Obama.” On June 30, Obama led Romney in the national RealClearPolitics average, 47.5 percent to 43.8 percent.

Wikinews interviews Green Party candidate

Kent Mesplay at an Earth Day event in 2008.
Image: Kent Mesplay.

In addition to Jill Stein and Roseanne Barr, Kent Mesplay, an air quality inspector from San Diego, participated in June’s California Green Party presidential primary. He finished the contest in third place with 10.8 percent behind Stein’s nomination-clinching showing of 49.3 percent and Barr’s second place 39.9 percent. In the aftermath of the primary and ahead of the July 12–15 Green National Convention, Wikinews reached out to Mesplay.

Mesplay, who serves as a delegate to the Green National Committee, had previously sought the Green presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008, falling short both times. Wikinews first interviewed Mesplay during his second presidential campaign in June 2008, when he announced his intentions to seek the Green Party’s 2012 presidential nomination. During his 2012 bid, Mesplay has campaigned on his support for sustainability, indigenous rights, campaign finance reform, and reductions in military spending. He has received the endorsements of party co-founder John Rensenbrink, 2004 Green Party vice presidential nominee Pat LaMarche, and Green activist Kat Swift.

With Wikinews, Mesplay discusses his thoughts on Stein and Barr, Green policies in general, and his future political plans.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png With the outcome of the California primary, physician Jill Stein has secured enough delegates to be the Green Party presumptive presidential nominee. What are your thoughts on Stein and her policy proposals? How do they compare to your own and have you discussed the vice presidential nomination with her?

Mesplay: The focus of Stein’s campaign has been a “Green New Deal,” which is a federal public jobs program funded by anticipated military cuts and by updated taxes. I support the stated goals of the program, although I question the practicality of relying upon such anticipated funding sources. Our campaigns agree on the severity of the crises to be responsibly addressed: climate change, economic melt-down, crumbling infrastructure, torn social safety-nets. We need to transform toward being a sustainability-driven culture, rather than one that liquidates our natural resources to our collective peril, and green jobs play a central role in this. I introduced the Green New Deal in campaign flyers in 2008; the idea has been floating around Green circles for a decade or so.
Rather than emphasize an apparently centralized, federal, “top-down” approach to improving our governance, my role in the 2012 Green Party presidential campaign season has been to emphasize a “ground-up” approach, making the case for volunteerism, local currency and scrip, and direct, immediate citizen involvement with local solutions to “fund” the transformation. More than just a complementary approach, direct citizen action is practical in that one does not need to wait for a Green President or Congress. At the federal policy level, we would see more success and less resistance by, say, gradually transforming the military to lead the fight in climate-change through re-training. However we go about it, we should be growing food wherever we can, and we should be better prepared and able to quickly meet the health and safety basic needs of masses of people. My “stamp” is an argument for sustainability as security-enhancing emergency preparation. I am also an outspoken advocate for Native Americans, having this as part of my ancestry and upbringing.
I have not directly discussed the vice presidential nomination with Jill Stein, although I have expressed such interest when Skyping in to a recent Michigan Green Party state meeting. I will support Jill Stein as the Green Party nominee in whatever way I can.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Comedienne Roseanne Barr, who finished second in California, seems to be hinting that she may continue her campaign as an Independent after the National Convention. What is your reaction to Roseanne and her campaign? Has she had a positive influence on the Green Party?

Mesplay: Roseanne is an entertainer. Jill and I privately conferred right after Roseanne entered the race, “for real,” knowing that Roseanne’s behavior could draw the party unwanted negative publicity. We were aware of Roseanne’s self-appointed title of (virtual) Prime Minister of Israel in an online parliamentary project and were concerned about her antics. In getting to know her, I now consider her a friend. She is intelligent, thoughtful, well educated and genuinely concerned about societal and environmental problems, and has been a strong advocate for Native people. When helping to shape the effect of Roseanne’s entry into the race, I said, “Roseanne needs to get serious and we [Jill and I] need to have more fun [with our deathly-serious issues].” Over-all, Roseanne has brought positive attention to the Green Party, has helped register voters and has increased our exposure to the media. She entered the race too late to be a serious threat to Jill’s campaign, and early enough to make it more interesting. And (watch out), she is making a movie about her run for president. She says it’s funny.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png When we last interviewed in June 2008, it was under similar circumstances: you were seeking the Green Party presidential nomination; the National Convention was just a few weeks away; and like Stein, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney had already secured enough delegates to be the party’s presumptive nominee. At the time, you mentioned that you were “taking the steps to begin running for the 2012 presidential race.” Now, at this point in the 2012 race, do you have similar plans to run for president in 2016?

Mesplay: I was the first declared Green candidate in 2012. My challenge is to raise enough money that I can take time off work to actually run, full-time. To date, I have not been able to actively participate in a more visible, effective, competitive manner. I am undecided as to whether I will run, again.

American Independent Party primary results

AIP primary results by county: Noonan (blue violet), Roth (red), Riekse (green), No votes (black)
Image: William S. Saturn.

The American Independent Party (AIP), a paleoconservative group formerly affiliated with the Constitution Party that has guaranteed ballot access in California, listed three presidential candidates on its ballot for June’s California primary: the party’s former chairman Edward C. Noonan; radio talk show host Laurie Roth; and former United States Army Lieutenant Colonel “Mad” Max Riekse.

In the tally last updated on June 26, Noonan led Roth 16,625 votes (38.8 percent) to 16,044 (37.4 percent) with Riekse polling 10,227 votes (23.8 percent) for third place. Wikinews tried to contact the leading two candidates, but only successfully connected with Noonan.

Noonan, who ran for both Governor of California in 2006 and U.S. Senate in 2010 as the AIP nominee, told Wikinews that the “only purpose” for his run was to “have standing” in a lawsuit against President Barack Obama. Noonan, who refers to Obama as “Mr. Soetero”, said his most recent suit questioning Obama’s citizenship was dismissed in court. He believes Obama’s birth certificate “is forged and a fraudulent document” due to “multiple layers of different typewriter font sizes”, signatures in “multi-colored [ink] and sliced into the document in different patches.” Furthermore, he says that without a legitimate birth certificate, Obama “cannot prove that he is an American citizen [because his]…birth father was a foreign national from Kenya”. Noonan says that this disqualifies Obama from being president.

As a candidate, Noonan has sent out press releases and made numerous attempts to spread his message through the internet; however, he has received very little media attention. He argues that people are indifferent to politics and that the “corrupt news media” ignores third party candidates such as himself. Additionally, he sees the two major parties as corrupt and refers to them as “two heads from the same beast.” He describes his opponent Roth as “a Republican traitor” and feels the AIP made a mistake by listing such a non-member on the primary ballot.

Roth, who says she feels God has called her to seek the presidency, unsuccessfully sought the Constitution Party presidential nomination earlier this year. On her website, she calls for the institution of a two percent consumption tax, the eventual repeal of all other taxes, and the elimination of the national debt in four to five years. Ahead of the primary, she received the endorsement of notable birther activist Orly Taitz. Wikinews has made numerous attempts to contact Roth, but has thus far received no response.

Former congressman Virgil Goode, the Constitution Party’s presidential nominee, and Tom Hoefling, the America’s Party presidential nominee, are both also reportedly seeking the AIP nomination despite not being listed on the primary ballot. The nominating convention is scheduled to take place August 11.

Might Rand Paul be the GOP VP nominee?

After Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky endorsed presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in June, speculation spread that Romney might select Paul as his running mate. However, according to two political analysts, the scenario is unlikely and may not be strategically wise for Republicans.

Paul, who holds libertarian views similar to those of his father, Congressman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas, announced his endorsement of Romney on Hannity. He cited Romney’s support for a Federal Reserve audit, a repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act as rationale for the move. However, Paul did not mention his policy disagreements with Romney on such issues as the War on Drugs, the USA PATRIOT Act, and the foreign policy of the United States.

Paul speaks at a Tea Party Express event.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Some libertarians and supporters of Ron Paul reacted angrily to the decision. The Libertarian Party released a statement saying “no true libertarian, no true friend of liberty, and no true blue Tea Partier could possibly even consider, much less actually endorse or approve of, the Father of Obamacare, Big Government tax and spender, Republican Mitt Romney.”

Nevertheless, some saw it as an attempt for Paul to position himself as a potential vice presidential candidate. Paul said it would be “a great honor” for Romney to consider him as a running mate. Proponents of this idea, such as Daniel McCarthy of The American Conservative, say Paul would help steer Republicans and the possible Romney administration away from statist and interventionist policies. Others do not view this as sound campaign strategy.

According to North Star Opinion Research strategist Dan Judy, the endorsement was simply Paul’s “way of supporting the Republican team and hoping to curry some favor with the Romney folks in hopes of getting his dad a speaking slot at the convention“. Though Judy held that the pick would help Romney with those concerned about Romney’s conservatism such as the “hard core Tea Party base”, he sees Paul’s political inexperience, questionable appeal to political independents and moderates, and the lack of any geographic advantage for the ticket as reasons that the scenario has “virtually no shot”.

Political analyst Kyle Kondik of Sabato’s Crystal Ball largely agrees, stating that the selection would be a “real surprise” and that though “supporters of Ron and Rand Paul are a vocal part of the Republican Party, they are but one small constituency, and their views, particularly on matters of war and peace, are too different from Romney and the Republican mainstream to imagine Rand (or Ron) in the No. 2 slot on the ticket.”



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June 30, 2012

Fred Karger officially ends 2012 presidential campaign

Fred Karger officially ends 2012 presidential campaign

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Karger in August 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Proclaiming that the fat lady had sung, political consultant Fred Karger of California officially ended his campaign for Presidency of the United States on Friday, three days after a last place finish in the Utah Republican primary. Karger was the first openly gay individual to seek the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party, and accumulated a total of 12,609 votes in six primary elections.

Karger, who served as a political adviser for several Republican presidents before actively campaigning for LGBT causes, had started his presidential campaign in 2010, but did not officially announce until last year. Throughout 2011, he attempted to appear in GOP presidential debates, but was unable to meet the polling threshold for any; he believed he had qualified for an August debate, but was denied entry after organizers deemed his cited polls as inadequate.

In 2012, Karger appeared on the primary ballots in New Hampshire, Michigan, Puerto Rico, Maryland, California, and Utah. He had his strongest showing in Puerto Rico, edging Congressman Ron Paul in votes and claiming over one percent of the total. He received his largest vote total in his home state of California, winning 8,268. In the June 26 Utah primary, the final contest before the 2012 National convention, Karger finished in fifth place with 0.25 percent, behind former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Senator Rick Santorum, Paul, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee who won with 93 percent of the vote.

In his withdrawal announcement, Karger thanked his supporters and reflected on the campaign as “the experience of a lifetime.” He expressed hope that his effort had positively influenced political discourse on the economy, education, LGBT rights, and other issues. He now plans to “rest up for awhile” before getting “back at it to help in the fight for LGBT equality.”

Karger did not endorse another candidate for the presidency, and had previously told Wikinews that he had no plans to endorse anyone at the conclusion of his campaign.



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June 5, 2012

On the campaign trail, May 2012

On the campaign trail, May 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, May 2012

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The following is the seventh in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail, the leading candidates for the Americans Elect presidential nomination respond to a major announcement from that organization’s board of directors, two presidential candidates in favor of same-sex marriage react to President Barack Obama’s announcement of support for the practice, and Wikinews interviews the newly-selected Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee.

Summary

May began with the expected withdrawal of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who felt the continuation of his campaign to be fruitless. He endorsed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, whom the press had already designated as the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee. Shortly thereafter, former candidate Rick Santorum also threw his support to Romney. Another former Republican candidate, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, took a different path. He won the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party to continue his campaign into the general election. Congressman Ron Paul remained a candidate in the Republican race, but scaled back his campaign, announcing the suspension of active campaigning while still competing in state conventions to amass delegates.

Heavily circulated publicity photo of prison inmate Keith Russell Judd from March 15, 2008.
Image: Keith Russell Judd.

Romney swept the Republican primaries in West Virginia, North Carolina, and Indiana, but President Obama had some difficulty in the Democratic primaries in the first two states. 41 percent of Democrats in West Virginia favored prison inmate Keith Russell Judd over the president and 21 percent in North Carolina voted uncommitted over Obama. North Carolina voters also passed an amendment defining marriage as an institution between a man and woman despite vice president Joe Biden’s vocal support for same-sex marriage prior to the vote. Biden’s statement and the North Carolina result prompted Obama to make an announcement. During an ABC News interview with Robin Roberts, Obama explained that his views had “evolved” and that he now supports same-sex marriage. Romney countered, responding that “marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.”

Obama’s primary difficulties continued later in May, as attorney John Wolfe, Jr. of Tennessee won 42 percent against him in the Arkansas primary, and as a similar margin of voters supported uncommitted over the president in Kentucky. Romney easily won the two states’ Republican contests, but later faced potential troubles of his own. The Washington Post published a lengthy article alleging that Romney bullied a student while in high school. Romney said he did not remember the episode and apologized for the “dumb things” he did in school. Subsequently, the alleged victim’s family disputed the story. Next, the Obama campaign attempted to make an issue of Romney’s venture capital activities as CEO of Bain Capital. Cory Booker, the Democratic Mayor of Newark, criticized this attempt, arguing on Meet the Press that advertisements against the firm left him “uncomfortable.” Booker later clarified that he supported and still intended to help re-elect Obama as president. In what Real Clear Politics described as an attempt to counter the attacks on Bain and highlight high unemployment as an issue, Romney predicted that if elected, unemployment would fall to six percent at the end of his first term. The Obama campaign and supporters said the announcement was nothing new since it simply mirrored the Congressional Budget Office‘s projections for 2016, regardless of who wins the election.

In late May, Romney won the endorsements of former President George W. Bush and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice’s immediate predecessor, General Colin Powell, who endorsed Obama in 2008, withheld an official endorsement, but like Obama, announced his support for same-sex marriage. In the final primary of the month, both Obama and Romney each handily won their respective party’s contest in Texas. As a result, Romney surpassed the required number of delegates to secure the Republican nomination and Obama faced his last contested primary on the Democratic side. However, the question of whether Obama’s nomination would be unanimous remained unanswered as lawsuits from Judd and Wolfe disputed the party’s decision to not award them delegates for which they qualified in the aforementioned West Virginia and Arkansas primaries.

Americans Elect makes major decision; leading candidates respond

Americans Elect, the non-profit organization that spent an estimated $35 million to attain ballot access in 29 states with hopes of nominating a bipartisan 2012 presidential ticket, decided in May to forego the 2012 presidential race. Via press release, the organization’s board announced that none of its candidates had met the minimum threshold, which required the accumulation of 10,000 pledged supporters for “experienced” candidates, and 50,000 supporters for other candidates, prior to the May 15 deadline. Though this decision drew criticism, the board claimed its actions were to maintain the integrity of the organization’s rules.

Americans Elect logo.
Image: Americans Elect.

As a result, candidates that actively sought the organization’s nomination including former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, activist Michealene Risley, and economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff were forced to reassess how to continue their campaigns.

Roemer, who led all candidates with 6,293 supporters, called the decision disappointing and commented that “Americans Elect’s procedure was ripe with difficulty related to access, validation and security.” Though he simultaneously sought the Reform Party’s nomination, Roemer ultimately decided that the party’s ballot access in four states was not enough, and suspended his campaign at the end of May.

Anderson, who finished second in supporters with 3,390, referred to the Americans Elect process as “discriminatory”, and announced his support for a movement within the organization, headed by delegate Andrew Evans, attempting to overturn the board’s decision. Meanwhile, Anderson removed all references to Americans Elect from the front page of his campaign website, and has focused his energies on the Justice Party, which he founded last year. It currently has ballot access in Mississippi and Utah. Anderson is also a candidate for the Peace and Freedom Party, which will appear on the California ballot.

Risley, who came in third with 2,351 supporters, argued that “people feel really used and manipulated” by Americans Elect. In a letter to the board, she wrote that the organization “will be stigmatized as the latest example of third party failure”, “Instead of being the prototype for high tech democracy”. Like Anderson, she supports the actions of Evans, and has even opened a petition for it on change.org. Since Risley is not competing for another party’s presidential nomination, this is now the crux of her campaign.

Kotlikoff, who finished fourth with 2,027 supporters, told Wikinews that he felt the Americans Elect board was more interested in attracting “big names” than focusing on the issues. He cited this as “the most disappointing aspect” of the decision, adding that “big names don’t necessarily equate to big ideas or good ideas for moving the country ahead. And all big names start small.” Like Roemer, Kotlikoff had decided to also seek the Reform Party nomination, and following the decision, choose to end his Reform Party bid and his presidential campaign as a whole. He opted instead to promote his “Purple Plan”, which combines elements of Republican and Democratic solutions to resolve political issues.


Two candidates react to President Obama’s same-sex marriage backing

After President Obama announced his personal support of same-sex marriage while maintaining it should be decided on a state-by-state basis, two candidates already supporting marriage equality reacted in two very different ways.

Republican Fred Karger, the first openly gay person to seek a major political party’s presidential nomination, sent an e-mail to supporters praising Obama for the announcement, saying that “he will be a great advocate as we do battle [against marriage definition propositions] in four states this November.” He added, “It’s nice to have another presidential candidate on board for full equality.”

Gary Johnson in December 2011.
Image: Gary Johnson.

Fred Karger in August 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential nominee, had an opposite interpretation of Obama’s announcement. He commented, “while I commend [Obama] for supporting the concept of gay marriage equality, I am profoundly disappointed in the President.” “Instead of insisting on equality as a U.S. Constitutional guarantee, the President has thrown this question back to the states.” Johnson speculated that Obama cared more about not alienating voters in the swing states of Ohio, Colorado, North Carolina, and Virginia, than supporting change on a federal level.

When approached with this view, Karger argued, “sure, [I] would rather [Obama] came out for a federal marriage solution…[but]” “just his coming out for marriage equality is the key.” Karger maintained that the issue would ultimately be decided in the courts rather than in Congress.

Karger is currently campaigning as an alternative to Mitt Romney in California ahead of that state’s June 5 GOP primary, while Johnson, whom Karger has described as a friend, is hoping to achieve ballot access in all 50 states to challenge President Obama and the Republican nominee in the general election.

The Libertarian Party’s newly-christened VP nominee discusses his role

After the Libertarian Party nominated former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson for president at May’s Libertarian National Convention, upon Johnson’s request, the party selected Judge Jim Gray of California for Vice President to complete the ticket.

Gray has worked as a judge since 1983 when Governor George Deukmejian appointed him to the Santa Ana Municipal Court in Orange County, California. Six years later he was appointed to the Superior Court of Orange County. His work in court earned him two “Judge of the Year” awards: first in 1992 from the Business Litigation Section of the Orange County Bar Association, and then in 1995 from the Orange County Constitutional Rights Foundation.

Judge Jim Gray.
Image: Jim Gray.

In addition to his work as a jurist, Gray has been involved in Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and has advocated against the federal government’s prosecution of the War on Drugs. Moreover, Gray’s vice presidential campaign is not his first experience in politics. He ran for U.S. Congress as a Republican in 1998, and was the Libertarian Party’s 2004 nominee for U.S. Senate in California.

Johnson described him as “not only a highly-respected jurist, but he is also a proven leader on issues of concern to Americans – from drug policy to civil liberties to ethics. I am proud he is joining me to offer America a real choice in this election, and excited that his forceful and extremely credible voice will be a vital part of our campaign. Judge Gray is a reformer with the track record and credentials to prove it”.

Gray reserved some time to speak with Wikinews about his role as the Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee, what he adds to the Johnson ticket, and what Johnson-Gray can do to better than the 0.4 percent former Congressman Bob Barr and businessman Wayne Allyn Root won as the 2008 representatives of the Libertarian Party.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are your responsibilities as the Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee?

Judge Gray: As the Vice Presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party, I am a team member under the leadership of our Presidential nominee, Governor Gary Johnson, as we campaign to restore Prosperity, Equal Opportunity and Liberty to the United States of America.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow do you complement Gary Johnson on the ticket?

Judge Gray: It is amazing. In 2010 I wrote a book entitled A Voter’s Handbook: Effective Solutions to America’s Problems (The Forum Press, 2010), which I never considered using in a political campaign. However, in looking at my documented views of our problems and solutions, they are almost completely consistent with those of Governor Johnson. But my background as a federal prosecutor, Navy JAG attorney, trial court judge and former Peace Corps Volunteer is quite different from Governor Johnson’s. Therefore I bring a balance and perspective to the ticket that no other vice presidential candidate will likely have.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow do you plan to achieve more electoral success than the 2008 Barr-Root campaign?

Judge Gray: Candidly, our strategy is to be polling at 15 percent or above at the end of this coming September. This will qualify us to be in the national presidential and vice presidential debates. If that occurs, all of the common wisdom will change. And during the convention … in Nevada Governor Johnson was polling at 7 percent. Now he is polling at 8 percent. I deeply believe that when the American people see and understand what Governor Johnson and I not only stand for, but what he has actually done while a sitting two-term governor for eight years, they will rally in droves to our campaign, because they will see the truth that the Republican and the Democratic candidates are almost parallel in the important issues which have led us into financial ruin and despair, and Governor Johnson stands out in front for positive change.



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April 28, 2012

Wikinews interviews Fred Karger, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate

Wikinews interviews Fred Karger, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fred Karger in 2010.
Image: IowaPolitics.com.

United States political consultant and gay rights (LGBT) activist Fred Karger of California took some time to discuss his Republican Party presidential campaign with Wikinews reporter William Saturn. Karger holds the distinction as the first openly gay person to seek the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party.

Before entering electoral politics, Karger worked as an adviser for such prominent Republicans and former U.S. Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Since retiring as an adviser in 2004, he has been involved in LGBT issues: opposing California Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state; and leading investigations of such same-sex marriage opponents as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormon Church).

In 2010, Karger first announced his intentions to seek the Republican presidential nomination, but did not officially announce until March 2011. One of his early campaign goals was to participate in a GOP presidential debate, but was never invited due to polling thresholds. However, Karger argued that he did meet the requirement for an August debate, but was still excluded after the organizers deemed polls he cited as inadequate.

So far, Karger has appeared on four Republican primary ballots including Puerto Rico, where he was able to top Congressman Ron Paul, who, at the time was one of the four major candidates in the race. Karger will next appear on the ballots in California on June 5, and in Utah on June 26.

Karger brands himself as “a different kind of Republican” that wants to open the party to outsiders. He backs gay marriage, is pro-choice on abortion, and wants to lower the voting age. However, he also holds some traditional Republican views: he favors a strengthening of the private sector and believes the U.S. should be steadfast in its support for the nation of Israel.

In talking to Wikinews, Karger discusses his personal political background and activism, the 2012 presidential election and his GOP campaign, as well as his political views on both domestic and foreign affairs.

Background

Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam S. SaturnWikinews waves Right.pngI’m going to start with the background. What are some of your proudest accomplishments?

Karger with former President George H. W. Bush in 2006.
Image: Fred Karger.

Fred Karger: Well, I have been involved in politics for 55 years. I am very proud that I first began working on campaigns, and then evolved into a profession. I got to work with some of the great leaders in the country: George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan. I got to involve myself in a lot of the issues of the time; involved in initiatives, elections all over the country; and then, most recently was a direct activist in discovering a lot of illicit activities by the Mormon Church, involving itself in many of the anti-Gay marriage campaigns from 1995 in Hawaii to our current election going on now; and then also taking on the National Organization for Marriage, and then investigated in Maine, which resulted in a treasure trove of documents disclosing their illicit activities. So I would think those are certainly some of my highlights in my 62 years, but I got all the fight left in me.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat did you learn from Ronald Reagan?

Fred Karger: Well, I learned about his great optimism and his ability to get along with Democrats and Republicans, conservatives [and] liberals. He had an innate ability to work with people of all stripes and get along with them. Good with speaking the language of the time, building alliances to get a lot of things done in the best interest of the country, unlike President Obama and the Congress today. Ronald Reagan never took himself too seriously…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngI read on your Facebook profile that you supported Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primaries. Why did you support her?

Fred Karger: The Republican Party has moved too far to the right for my liking. And that was not the Republican Party that I grew up with. I think there’s room in the party for a broad coalition of thought…
I was very disenchanted with the Republicans running four years ago, and I liked Hillary Clinton. I liked her husband. I thought he was a good centrist and a good president. And I wanted to help out and support her. I didn’t work for her, but I did max out. I gave $2300 over a period of time in 2008 to her. And I just thought she would have been a very good president.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWho did you support during the general election?

Fred Karger: During the general in 2008, I didn’t support either candidate. I had helped George W. Bush in 2000. We were working an independent expenditure committee that I helped with a gentleman named Charles Francis that was a Gay-Straight alliance that supported George W. Bush, but then he let us down with his vocal support for a federal Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and other anti-gay activities that campaign and he were involved with in 2004. So I did not help him. I did not vote for him in 2004. I voted for a third party candidate because then I was not too convinced that Barack Obama was the right man for the job. So I was a Ralph Nader voter. I didn’t do anything with his campaign or more, but I did end up voting for him.
Cquote1.svg The public doesn’t know enough about the Mormon Church, so I wanted to help make them aware because there are some very interesting parts of that religion that I think it’s certainly open for discussion with Mitt Romney as the likely Republican nominee Cquote2.svg

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngYou have been very critical of the Mormon Church for its support of Proposition 8, and you created a website titled, “the Top Ten Craziest Mormon beliefs”. Some of your followers on Facebook wrote comments that this went too far. What is your response to them?

Fred Karger: Well, the Mormon Church as I discovered by documents that were given to me, official Mormon Chuch documents going back to 1995, has led the way on all the anti-Gay initiatives, constitutional amendments in the country. All thirty one that have been successful, the Mormon Church was instrumental in efforts. So I have announced. I don’t do things secretly like they do. I’ve been very up front about it. I signed my name to everything.
And I am determined to try and get them to reconsider their vehement opposition, not just to gay marriage, but the way they treat gay and lesbian members of the Mormon faith. And there’s a wonderful new video out with a dozen students from BYU talking about that and how difficult it is to be gay and Mormon. And this church, which is on the cusp of having a President of the United States, is cruel [through] activities that have been done to LGBT members and followers and as well as all of us non-members, who have been critical of their activism.
I think it is the wrong direction and I will continue to shadow that and keep them honest in politics, which they have not been as we found in California. And I think as their public affairs director had invited, which is why I put that website up, the public doesn’t know enough about the Mormon Church, so I wanted to help make them aware because there are some very interesting parts of that religion that I think it’s certainly open for discussion with Mitt Romney as the likely Republican nominee.

2012 presidential campaign

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngLet’s talk about the campaign. I’ve seen from your photos that while campaigning, you’ve encountered such candidates as Jon Huntsman, Jr. and Michele Bachmann. Do they recognize you and/or acknowledge the historical significance of your campaign?

Fred Karger: I’ve met every single candidate running and have general pictures with all. The only one [exception] I think is Ron Paul, who I did meet with in his office in Washington. He was the one, who actually set up a formal meeting with me in January of 2011. We had a wonderful meeting. He had not made up his mind yet.

Karger with Jon Huntsman, Jr. in 2011.
Image: Fred Karger.

But yes, Rick Santorum knew me well. We would run in to each other all the time. Everyone was very courteous to me. Some I became more friendly with: Gary Johnson or Jon Huntsman, very, very cordial to me. I would actually say that Gary Johnson and me became friends. We would see each other all the time, went to meals together.
So I had asked all the Republican candidates running to have lunch, dinner, coffee with me. I thought it would be a good opportunity for the other Republicans running, and in a friendly manner to meet, to get to know an openly gay candidate for president, which no one has done before. But I think it was just my olive branch. As I was saying earlier, what Ronald Reagan did and what he taught me, which was to reach out to everybody. And certainly there’s some Republicans, who have said some very bad things about my community and I want to help them based on that and come up with the areas we have in common as opposed to the areas where we disagree.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngYou previously said that one of your goals in your campaign was to participate in a GOP presidential debate, now that no more debates have been scheduled, what are you hoping to achieve by continuing your campaign?

Fred Karger: Well that had been my primary goal to get in a presidential debate. A big feat for someone who has never run for office before and doesn’t have tens of millions of dollars to spend on his campaign. I came very close. I did qualify. I met the criteria for the Fox News debate last August in Ames, Iowa, but they changed the rules and prohibited me from participating. So I am holding out hope that there still may be another debate. There’s talk of a Texas debate. Governor Romney might not do anymore but there may be a situation where there’s just a handful of candidates. There’s only four of us now that are still actively running that are on state ballots like California and Utah. So I still have hope that there might be a debate. But short of that I will be campaigning vigorously in California. That’s the next ballot I am on.
Cquote1.svg The numbers obviously don’t add up for me to be the nominee, but I can certainly be a factor and that is one of my goals. Cquote2.svg
We are shooting our first California commercial on Saturday. It’s an elaborate production, and I’m hoping we’ll be running it on television in California. Hopefully it will catch on in a viral manner like some of our commercials have and maybe be kind of an introduction to California about my campaign years. So I’m going to be spending the next almost eight weeks all up and down my home state. I’m the only Californian on the ballot. And on our California ballot, it doesn’t list occupation. It just lists hometown and state. So I will have Laguna Beach, California as my ballot designation, which none of the other three remaining candidates, of course, are from here. So that’s an advantage. And we’ve got a lot of volunteers. A lot up and down the state. And I hope to register here. I’m going to be targeting three congressional districts, because the delegates are awarded by congressional district here. So I’m hopeful that I can pull out some delegates and be more of a factor in this race. The numbers obviously don’t add up for me to be the nominee, but I can certainly be a factor and that is one of my goals.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngAs you’ve said, it seems very likely that Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination. Might you support him in the general election?

Fred Karger: Well, I said that I’m very uncomfortable with anyone who signed this marriage pledge of the National Organization for Marriage. I asked him specifically to disavow that pledge. They just endorsed his candidacy yesterday. This is a very shady organization that is under investigation for money laundering in Maine. It has just been revealed by four unsealed documents by a federal judge that were subpoenaed from NOM of their devious and illegal activities. We now know that there have been illegal activities that have taken place by them. And I am uncomfortable with Mitt Romney as long as he is willing to connect with this very very questionable organization. And so I’m going to weigh the field. I am not going to make any decisions if he were to be our nominee as the Republican Party. I liked his dad a lot. I’m not quite there with Mitt Romney, but I’ll have to wait and see how things develop.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngYour best showing in the Republican primaries so far came in Puerto Rico last month. In terms of campaigning, what did you learn from that experience?

Fred Karger: Well, Puerto Rico has an open primary as did Michigan. I tend to do better in states with an open primary because Republicans that are voting in a primary tend to be far more conservative. So if they have heard of me and know that I’m an openly gay candidate that of course could eliminate a potential vote. So I like that. I like the fact that I got an enormous amount of attention down there.

Karger campaigning in Puerto Rico in March.
Image: Fred Karger.

Cquote1.svg The [Puerto Rican] media was very interested. I was endorsed by the number one radio talk show host in San Juan, Carmen Jovet, who had interviewed me on her show. Cquote2.svg

Puerto Rico is way behind the states in its support for gay civil rights. There’s a gay and lesbian center that’s only been open for one year, as opposed to the states where gay centers have been open for 25 or 30 years or more. So they are very much behind the times. But they are coming around. They are very grateful for my presence there. I got a lot of speaking engagements. The media was very interested. I was endorsed by the number one radio talk show host in San Juan, Carmen Jovet, who had interviewed me on her show. And she’s a very prominent media personality. And when there was a hurricane there, they got her to chair the foundation. We just spoke, having fun with it. I didn’t know that after that she would endorse me and that had a lot to do with it.

And we did things in Puerto Rico well: we campaigned in the big towns that were competitive right before the election; did a lot of speaking; a lot of meeting the voters; colleges that we’d go to all over. So we did a blitz there in six days that was successful and I was proud to beat Ron Paul. And of course, what Romney did, and what Santorum didn’t do was to listen to the voters and listen to the citizens of Puerto Rico, which you have to have respect for their heritage. And to come in and say this whole territory must learn English in order to be eligible for statehood is just not smart, spin politics. So I listened. I do. And I respect their heritage especially years of Spanish speaking that can’t expect to transform that as a bargain, a negotiating bargain for statehood. So I just had regard for the culture and the people, and responded to what I think was a good fit for Puerto Rico. But I also, along with statehood, which is still a mixed issue down there, a lot of the younger people want independence than even want statehood, but I’m open to whatever that would be and to whatever the Puerto Ricans really would like to be for themselves.

Political views

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngLet’s get into policy. You proposed that the voting age be reduced. How might you convince Republicans to support this when polls suggest that the youth generally support Democrats?

Fred Karger: Well, it’s something that I’ve not advocated as a particular constitutional amendment. I suggested that we should hold a discussion for lowering the voting age to 16 or 17. And that’s one of the things I’ve been doing for our campaign. And in regards to your question, the Republican Party is doing everything it can to drive away this younger generation. Candidates like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney are doing and saying things that are so anathema to younger voters. Ron Paul is doing the opposite. That’s why he gets 6400 people at UCLA. He gets thousands of students coming out. And I applaud him because he’s the only one who has the foresight to realize there’s a future to this Republican Party beyond November.

Karger speaking with youth in Puerto Rico.
Image: Fred Karger.

So one of the things I’ve tried to do, I’ve tried to reach out to students in high school and college. I’ve spoken at a lot of high schools. There are 18 year old voters there. And I’m looking to the future of the Republican Party. And I think we need to do and say things and put the policies that will appeal to young voters. Currently jobs is the number one issue and I talk about that. That’s a concern of younger voters in high school, college, wherever they are. So we just need to be a little more aware of that generation, so if there are 16 or 17 year old voters someday, they will be split, and that we will have welcomed them as Ronald Reagan did. There’s a 70 year old man that just completely brought back a younger generation to the Republican Party that they had been driven away by Watergate. I know because I was a younger voter then who was working with then-Republicans to bring younger voters into the Republican Party. And if they think it’s tough now, it was ten times tougher then.
We need to be much more aware. Think out all of the ways to do it: to speak the language; to offer them the opportunity to participate; to teach them voting at a younger age in high school so that they get in more of a habit once out of high school and off to college or in workforce, and are less likely to become advantageous voters. I think we need to teach voting in high school. Bring candidates like myself, Congressional candidates, their own candidates from city race, into the high school and I think that’ll help people become better voters. And I also think it’ll also help a certain percentage stay in high school that may not ordinarily, cause we’re of course, losing a million high school students a year dropping out, and the 2 or 3 percent love politics and they’re learning from politicians. They may be less likely to drop out. It’s helping to then lessen that crisis.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngConsidering the Tenth amendment, should same sex marriage be a state issue?

Fred Karger: I am a strong advocate of states’ rights, but not on a civil rights issue like gay marriage. And had we left interracial marriage to the states, we know that would have been a long time and coming, and the Supreme Court interceded and made that the law of the land. And I think on this issue that the court will ultimately decide that this issue should not be left to the voters. That is a gigantic mistake. A legislature are better. Some have more courage. But it’s too hot a political issue. It should be a legal issue. And I’m looking forward to the Nevada case for that to work its way up to federal courts and then for the California Perry case. I think those two will be very important in making all the different people equal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow can high energy costs be reduced?

Karger during the 2012 presidential election.
Image: Gage Skidmore.
Theodore Roosevelt during the 1912 presidential election.
Fred Karger: Well, that’s a very complex issue. Talking about certainly making America energy independent is number one. Conservation, which no one else is talking about, and that I am beating my chest about is so important. There’s so much energy that is wasted in this country. Not just driving, but in our public buildings and homes, where you go into a movie theater in the summer and it’s freezing or the airports. There’s so many public places where we should not have government mandates, but certainly building owners and managers to take responsibility to really make it comfortable, and to set thermostats at a comfortable temperature. And personal responsibility, there’s so many light-timers that go all night. I grew up with parents who were children of the depression and World War II. So I couldn’t leave my room without turning the light off. And I think we need to instill those values. We got to stop releasing so much energy. That will be a big contribution toward keeping costs down.
Cquote1.svg I’m more like a Theodore Roosevelt, who took on a lot of corporations and was controversial at those acts he did Cquote2.svg
But the oil companies need, and I know there’s many factors in the high gas prices, but it’s no coincidence that ExxonMobil makes record profits when gas prices at the pump go up. You can parallel those two. I’ve taking on ExxonMobil. I’m not afraid to do that. I’m more like a Theodore Roosevelt, who took on a lot of corporations and was controversial at those acts he did, very different of course a hundred years ago, monopolies and things like that. But I have no problems with going after big oil, and fine companies that have made a trillion dollars of profit off of the consumers, who are struggling right now with of course the trickle effect of high gasoline prices [which] affects the entire economy, not just at the pump. So there’s a lot of ways. I’ve got some on my website, the issues tab. I talk about ways to bring this down. But those are two areas certainly where we need to pick it up: conservation and making America energy independent.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngThis is my last question. On your website you say that “Israel must be defended at all costs.” Does this apply to other nations as well, and if not, why should one nation be given preferential treatment over others?

Fred Karger: Well, Israel is our number one ally. Israel’s enemies are our enemies. We have Syria and Iran, and Palestinians for now, Hezbollah. We have a common way of government. We should defend them. They’re a smaller country that’s in a very unstable part of the world. Our mutual interests are at stake. But all of our great allies, most of which are stronger because they’ve been around longer, but when we have friends, just as we do in life, you look out for your friends and you defend your friends and help your friends out. And we have members all over the world and I think we need to always look out for those allies. Israel just happens to be in a more dangerous spot than Australia or Great Britain, or the other allies we have of like minded democracies around the world.



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February 3, 2012

On the campaign trail, January 2012

On the campaign trail, January 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, January 2012

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Friday, February 3, 2012

The following is the third in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail, the challengers to President Barack Obama react to the results of the New Hampshire Democratic Party primary, two new political parties choose their first presidential nominees, and an economist who announced his intentions to seek the nomination of Americans Elect answers a few questions for Wikinews.

Summary

Mitt Romney on the eve of the Iowa Caucus.
Image: Iowa Politics.

Initially, it was reported that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the Iowa Caucus by eight votes over former Senator Rick Santorum, who surged in the polls just days ahead of it. Several weeks later it was revealed that Santorum actually won. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann dropped out of the race as the result of her sixth place finish. Romney went on to win the New Hampshire Primary the next week, with Ron Paul placing second. Jon Huntsman, Jr., who finished third, dropped out and endorsed Romney.

Ahead of the South Carolina primary, Texas governor Rick Perry ended his run and endorsed Gingrich. Gingrich received praise for his debate performances in South Carolina, and won the primary by a large margin over Romney despite a highly publicized interview with his ex-wife just before. By this point, the campaign had turned negative with Gingrich attacking Romney for his business past, and with Romney referring to Gingrich as a “failed leader”.

President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address on January 24. It was widely viewed as his “campaign kickoff” for re-election, and included a populist message that labeled the nation’s tax code as “rigged for the super wealthy”. Following the address, Obama traveled to five campaign battleground states.

Just ahead of the Florida primary, Gingrich won the endorsement of former candidate Herman Cain. Nevertheless, Romney held a five-to-one spending advantage and was able to win the state and all fifty of its delegates. He solidified his position as frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

New Hampshire Democratic Party primary results

Though the Republican Party’s first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary received the bulk of media attention earlier in January, the Democratic Party held a primary in the state as well.

Second place finishers by town.
Cowan (blue), Supreme (red), Terry (yellow), Haywood (purple), Freis (yellow orange), Ely (brown), O’Connor (light grey), Richardson (pink), Wolfe (grey), O’Donnell (orange), Greene (green), Jordan (red violet), Tyler (peach), none (white), greater than two (black).

President Barack Obama was challenged by thirteen Democratic Party presidential candidates including performance artist Vermin Supreme, anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, and historian Darcy Richardson. In the end, Obama easily won the primary with 81 percent, which amounted to 49,080 votes. Though the percentage was in the range won by incumbent presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush during their respective parties’ primaries in 1996 and 2004, the vote total was about 5,000 less than Bush received in 2004, and almost 30,000 fewer than Clinton in 1996.

New Hampshire primary runner-up Ed Cowan.
Image: Marc Nozell.

Out of the candidates on the ballot, Ed Cowan of Vermont finished second behind Obama with 975 votes or 1.56 percent. Cowan’s percentage was greater than that achieved by the Republican Party’s 2004 New Hampshire primary runner-up Richard Bosa who finished with 1.2 percent, and greater even than comedian Pat Paulsen‘s 1.1 percent second place finish in 1996.

The result surprised even Cowan, who said “More people voted for me than I actually met… I passed out about 500 copies of my stump speech, 550 at the most. Officially (based on my receipts) I spent $580, but it might have been as much as $650 tops. That resulted in 1.5 votes per dollar spent”. Cowan hopes to enter additional primaries, and hints that he may be thinking about an independent run; “The only vote that matters in the long run is the one on 11/7/12 [U.S. Election Day], and I hope to be on most if not all ballots.”

Vermin Supreme of Massachusetts came in third with 833 votes or 1.37 percent. In response to the results, Supreme exclaimed, “I WON !!!!!” In fact, Supreme has received notice: a recent Gregory Brothers video for the popular YouTube show “Songify the News” included a clip of his glitter bomb of fellow candidate Randall Terry. It has received over one million views.

Terry finished fourth with 442 votes. He told Wikinews, “we did what we set out to do: we injected the plight of unborn babies into this primary; hundreds of thousands of people in New Hampshire, Maine, and Boston saw the victims of Obama’s policies: dead babies.”

John Haywood was close behind with 423 votes. When asked for his reaction to the results, he stated: “when you’re beaten by a ratio of 115 to 1, you don’t exactly go whoopee, do you? I am, nevertheless, tremendously proud of my platform at haywoodforpresident.com.”

Darcy Richardson, who was interviewed by Wikinews last November, finished with 264 votes. He hypothesized that his ballot position and the fact that he did not travel to New Hampshire contributed to the low vote total. He remarked:

Cquote1.svg

Normally I would feel rather despondent about the results, but then I’m reminded that Eugene McCarthy garnered only 211 votes in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary when he revisited the state in 1992, and State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf of Pennsylvania, who has more experience in elected office than anybody running in either party and who personally spent several days campaigning in the state late last week, polled only 24 votes in yesterday’s Republican primary. Despite our non-presence, we actually made a comparable showing to that of Louisiana’s Buddy Roemer and received a higher percentage of the vote than gay activist Fred Karger, both of whom virtually lived in the state for the past four or five months.

We’ll do much better in future primaries, beginning with Missouri on February 7th.

Cquote2.svg

Of the other candidates, Aldous Tyler received 106 votes, John Wolfe, Jr. received 245, Bob Ely received 287, Craig Freis received 400, Bob Greene 213, Robert Jordan 155, Cornelius O’Connor 266, and Ed O’Donnell 222. There were several thousand write-in votes including 2,289 or 3.77 percent of the total for Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, Jr. each also received over one thousand write-in votes.

New parties select presidential nominees

Anderson greets supporters.
Image: Jeremiah Roth.

Both the Justice Party and the American Third Position Party (A3P) selected their first presidential nominees in January.

On January 12, the A3P nominated Independent filmmaker Merlin Miller for president and selected retired professor Virginia Abernethy as his running mate. The party was founded in 2010, and promotes third position politics and white nationalism. According to Miller’s campaign manager Alex Carmichael, it is currently petitioning to appear on the Ohio ballot, and plans to do so in a dozen other states.

The next day, the Justice Party nominated former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson, who had formed the party a few months before. It supports accountability through the removal of corporate money in politics, and is currently on the ballot in several states.

The party did not reach the deadline to file in California, and Anderson decided on January 9 that he would seek the nomination of the socialist Peace and Freedom Party, which has attained ballot access in the state. Others competing for the party’s nomination include Socialist Party USA nominee Stewart Alexander, Party for Socialism and Liberation nominee Peta Lindsay, and Stephen Durham of the Freedom Socialist Party.

Economist running for president

Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff announced in early January that he intends to seek the presidential nomination of Americans Elect, an independent organization hoping to nominate a bipartisan ticket for the 2012 presidential election. The group says it has already achieved ballot access in fifteen states, and hopes to appear on all the rest. Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer has also expressed his interest in the nomination.

Kotlikoff, who filed with the FEC on January 12, has authored fifteen books and is a regular contributor at Bloomberg.com. As an economist, he has consulted for large corporations, central banks, national governments, and international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund. The policy basis of his run is the “Purple plan”, a tax proposal that he believes both Democrats and Republicans can support.

Kotlikoff took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews.

Laurence Kotlikoff in November 2011.
Image: Hung-Ho Vergil Yu.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIf elected president, what specific policies would you promote, and how would you work with a likely Republican congress to implement them?

Kotlikoff: Many of my specific policies are posted at www.thepurpleplans.org. Others are laid out under Issues at www.kotlikoff2012.org.
I can talk to both sides of the isles. I have friends on both sides and can intermediate very well between the two parties. The two sides are often recommending much the same thing, but with different words. I can translate. If you read my Bloomberg columns about health care reform and tax reform, you’ll see this ability to connect the dots for both sides. Plus, if I were elected, it would be on the basis of my proposed policies, not my great looks or personality. The politicians would be on clear notice with respect to what policies the public wants implemented. If they didn’t implement them, they’d have me campaigning against them, regardless of which party they were in.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are your views on the Stop Online Piracy Act? How would you address the issue of online piracy as president?

Kotlikoff: On SOPA, I’m concerned with its potential chilling effect of freedom of speech on the Internet. I’m also deeply concerned about online piracy. But we need to be careful not to do more harm with respect to our 1st Amendment rights than good in defending intellectual property rights. As President, I’d bring together the proponents and opponents of SOPA and ask them to listen to each other and respond to the other side’s concerns. If I became persuaded that we could better combat online piracy via new legislation as opposed to enforcing existing legislation, I would ask the two sides to put forward a jointly authored bill.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are your thoughts on fellow AE presidential candidate and former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer? If he wins the AE nomination, would you consider running as an Independent?

Kotlikoff: On Governor Roemer, I agree with some statements on his website and differ with others. I believe we agree on much more than we disagree. What I don’t see is much depth or detail to what he proposes. It’s not enough to write a few sentences here and there about our problems. What we need is someone who really knows how to fix them in the simplest, cost-effective manner. The Purple Plans illustrate my ability to formulate real solutions to our pressing problems. The only plan that I saw of the Governor’s (in my admittedly quick look at his site) is his tax plan. I believe it would be less efficient, less conducive to growth, and far less progressive than www.thepurpletaxplan.org. His reference to sales taxes indicate a lack of knowledge on his part or that of his economic advisors of how consumption taxation works and what it really taxes.
I’m an independent now in terms of my political affiliation. If you are asking whether I would run as a write-in candidate for President, the answer is no. I expect to win the AE nomination. I looked a bit more at Governor Roemer’s site. One of the problems we face in the policy formation arena is getting close, but no cigar. The Governor has some good instincts in some areas, some bad ones in other areas, and no real specifics beyond the tax plan, which has, I believe, some very major flaws. In the end, he’s a politician and a banker, not an economist and I really think we need an economist at this point to get to the cigar when it comes to the very many severe economic problems we face. I’ll let you judge for yourself by comparing what’s on my website with his as well as those of other AE candidates who emerge. Knowing we have problems, knowing they aren’t being fixed, and knowing that the two parties are making the problems worse is all fine and good, but knowing precisely how to fix the problems is a different kettle of fish. I don’t suggest that designing economic policy is as tough as brain surgery, but spending decades studying economics makes a difference.



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January 12, 2012

Mitt Romney wins the 2012 New Hampshire Republican primary

Mitt Romney wins the 2012 New Hampshire Republican primary

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the first-in-the-US New Hampshire Republican primary on Tuesday with 97,600 votes (39.3%). This follows his narrow victory in the Iowa Caucus last week. Congressman Ron Paul, who finished third in the Iowa Caucus, came in second with 56,872 votes (22.9%). Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., who spent a great amount of resources on the primary, came in third place with 41,783 votes (16.8%).

Romney in December 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore..

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    January 12, 2012

    Mitt Romney wins the 2012 N39208mpshire Republican primary

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