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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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June 1, 2012

Buddy Roemer suspends U.S. presidential campaign

Buddy Roemer suspends U.S. presidential campaign

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer suspended his 2012 presidential campaign Thursday morning in an e-mail sent to supporters. He cited the lack of ballot access after Americans Elect decided to not field a 2012 presidential candidate.

Roemer opened his presidential campaign in July 2011 as a Republican, focusing on campaign finance reform and fair trade. He limited campaign contributions to $100 and rejected Political Action Committee (PAC) money, arguing “I have deliberately chosen a path requiring the help of many because that’s the way to win and, more importantly, that’s the way to get these mighty things done after the election.”

Roemer in June 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

He failed to make much of an impact on Republican preference polls, and was excluded from all GOP debates. Though he continued his GOP campaign, in November, he decided to seek the nomination of Americans Elect, a non-profit organization attempting to field a ticket that would be “responsive to the vast majority of citizens while remaining independent of special interests and the partisan interests of either major political party.”

Roemer finally ended his Republican bid in February and announced a switch to the Reform Party, while continuing his quest for the Americans Elect nomination. He led the organization by the number of supporters, but, like all other candidates, failed to meet the party’s threshold for support. As a result, the party decided earlier this month to not nominate a 2012 ticket.

After the decision, Roemer expressed his displeasure to Uncovered Politics, and said he would “take a couple of days to reassess the campaign” on whether to continue seeking the presidential nomination of the Reform Party. He ultimately decided to end the campaign due to insufficient ballot access. Though Americans Elect was hoping to achieve ballot access in all 50 states, the Reform Party currently has access in only four states.

In the e-mail, Roemer thanked campaign staff, supporters, and his family. He criticized the system of “special interests” in Washington, and called for the creation of a “team of reformers” to “re-energize our republic.” To conclude, he advised supporters, “Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Together, we will continue to reform our country and make America great once again. We are just getting started.”



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May 5, 2012

On the campaign trail, April 2012

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

On the campaign trail, April 2012

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

The following is the sixth 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 candidate that ended his presidential campaign speaks to Wikinews about what he learned from the experience and his new plan to run for U.S. Congress, Wikinews gets the reaction of the new presidential and vice presidential nominees of the Constitution Party, and the campaign manager for the top Americans Elect presidential candidate provides insight on the campaign’s list of potential running mates.

Summary

At the beginning of April, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won primaries in Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Maryland, pushing him further ahead of his rivals. A week later, former Senator Rick Santorum, the candidate with the second highest number of delegates, ended his campaign, avoiding a loss to Romney in his home state of Pennsylvania. With the withdrawal, the press began to identify Romney as the presumptive Republican Party nominee, though he had yet to secure enough delegates to clinch the nomination. Thereafter, Romney appointed adviser Beth Meyers to begin the search for a running mate.

These developments set the stage for an election contest between Romney and President Barack Obama, who had secured the nomination of the Democratic Party with victories in Maryland and Washington, D.C. The Washington Post proclaimed the “Buffett Rule” as the “opening act in Obama-Romney election battle” as Obama pushed for the Senate to pass a tax increase on wealthy Americans, named for billionaire Warren Buffett, who argued it was unfair that because of loopholes, his secretary had to pay a higher effective tax rate than him. The Romney campaign attacked the proposed tax increase as a “politically motivated” and “gussied-up” increase on capital gains taxes.

President Obama’s dog, Bo walks on the White House lawn in April 2012.
Image: Glyn Lowe.

Other stories in April distracted from the discussion of political issues. First, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen described Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, as having “never worked a day in her life.” Ann Romney responded that “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.” Next, The Obama campaign renewed the story that Romney transported his dog Seamus in a kennel on top of his vehicle in 1983, with campaign strategist David Axelrod posting a Twitter photo of Obama in a vehicle with his dog Bo, with the caption, “How loving owners transport their dogs.” The Romney campaign countered that Obama had eaten dog meat while living in Indonesia as discussed in his autobiography Dreams from My Father. Romney strategist Eric Fehrstrom retweeted Axelrod’s original photo with the caption, “In hindsight, a chilling photo.” Then, Rock musician and Romney supporter Ted Nugent said at a National Rifle Association event that he would be “dead or in jail” if Obama won re-election, earning him a visit from the Secret Service. The Secret Service itself was embroiled in controversy in April after it was revealed that agents had retained the services of prostitutes while protecting the President during his trip to Colombia.

Despite the portrayal of Romney as the presumptive nominee, delegate contests continued. Romney won additional races in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York, after which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced he planned to end his campaign. Texas governor Rick Perry, who supported Gingrich, formally endorsed Romney. However, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas continued his campaign. He won the majority of the Minnesota delegates up for grabs at conventions across the state and did the same in Louisiana, pushing his delegate count to 80. Romney has secured 847, which is just short of the required 1,144. 962 delegates remain available.

Presidential candidate drops bid; announces congressional run

In April, former air traffic controller RJ Harris ended his campaign for the 2012 presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party (LP), citing fundraising difficulties. He announced that instead, he would run an independent campaign to represent Oklahoma’s 4th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives against incumbent Congressman Tom Cole. Harris previously challenged Cole for the seat in 2010, but lost in the Republican Party primary.

Congressional candidate RJ Harris.
Image: RJ Harris.

Harris opened his presidential candidacy last year, and was the first LP candidate to speak with Wikinews. His exit leaves activist R. Lee Wrights and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson as the two main contenders for the LP nomination at the party’s May 5 National Convention.

Since exiting, Harris spoke to Wikinews once again, discussing what he learned from his presidential campaign, what he wishes to happen at the LP National Convention, and how his new congressional campaign will differ from his 2010 run.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat did you learn from the experience of running for president?

Harris: I learned that I am Libertarian to the core by having to research each and every position on the issues and realizing that I almost never saw the answers in any other light than that cast by the Philosophy of Liberty or the Constitution of the United States. Certainly I will run again when I have built a bigger base and I look forwards to once again being able to fight for Liberty with the courage of informed conviction. I also learned that no party, even the smaller ones, are immune from party politics and I will spend the rest of my political life attempting to live the admonition of Washington and Jefferson against them and the evils they create.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWho would you now like to see win the Libertarian Party presidential nomination?

Harris: I have already stated publicly that I think both Lee Wrights and Gov. Gary Johnson are great men who would serve the Libertarian Party very well. I would like to see a ticket with them both included on it. I refrain from making a direct endorsement of either as that smacks of the very party politics I have come to loathe. Let them articulate their messages to the delegates and the delegates decide without the interference of one of the failed candidates, or the party machine, who should be their standard bearer.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow will your 2012 congressional campaign differ from your 2010 run?

Harris: My 2012 Congressional Campaign will not end until November this time rather than in July. This should give us the time we need to attract wider support from the Liberty movement than we had last time since it is very difficult to get folks fired up so far in advance of the actual election. I will also be spending much more effort in district with various civic organizations, not political parties, and focusing on the registered voters who vote most often. Certainly I will highlight my opponents atrocious voting record which includes voting for the bailouts, the stimulus, raising the debt ceiling, the president’s budget, the Patriot Act and the NDAA. Aside from that though what is most important is that we get the message of Liberty out to the constituents of Oklahoma’s 4th District so that they have something positive to consider up against the incumbent.

Constitution Party presidential and vice presidential picks react to nomination

Virgil Goode of Virginia and Jim Clymer of Pennsylvania, the new presidential and vice presidential nominees of the Constitution Party (CP), each responded to Wikinews inquiries requesting their thoughts on their respective nominations.

Official photo of Goode during the 109th United States Congress.
Image: United States Congress.

Goode, who served in Congress for over a decade before joining the CP in 2010, announced his presidential candidacy this past February. At the 2012 National Convention in April, he won the party’s presidential nomination on the first ballot over former Savannah State football coach Robby Wells and 2008 vice presidential nominee Darrell Castle.

Afterwards, Goode echoed his reaction to Wikinews: “I am honored to be the nominee of the Constitution Party for the 2012 election. I offer a real difference from Romney and Obama.” He differentiated himself from Romney and Obama, calling for a balanced federal budget, border security, the elimination of illegal immigration, the decrease of legal immigration, support for the Alabama and Arizona immigration laws, and the reduction of money in politics. He proclaimed, “I am not taking any PAC donations, and am also limiting individual donations to $200 per person…I favor the many over the special few.”

At the convention, Goode selected outgoing CP chairman Jim Clymer as his running mate. Clymer, an attorney from Lancaster, announced earlier this year that he would step down as chairman of the CP. During his chairmanship, Clymer welcomed Goode into the CP in 2010, and encouraged him to run for president. This is not Clymer’s first campaign for public office, having run for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania in both 1994 and 1998.

Concerning the CP vice presidential nomination, Clymer told Wikinews, “I wasn’t seeking it, but how can one say no to a request like that, especially after I had been urging him [Goode] to step forward to make the sacrifice of being our presidential candidate. It’s a case of duty calling and I intend to do all I can to answer that call!”

A Public Policy Polling survey conducted at the end of April shows the CP ticket with 5 percent support in Goode’s home state of Virginia, behind Mitt Romney with 38 percent and President Barack Obama with 50 percent. In 2008, the ticket of pastor Chuck Baldwin and Darrell Castle appeared on 37 state ballots, and received 199,314 votes or 0.15 percent of the total popular vote.

Top Americans Elect candidate announces ’23’ potential running mates

Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, the current leader in supporters for the Americans Elect presidential nomination, announced on MSNBC‘s Morning Joe in April that he has compiled a list of “23” potential running mates for his campaign. He says the list will remain a secret until the conclusion of the first round of voting on the Americans Elect website. The vote was scheduled to happen on May 8, but has been postponed to May 15. According to Americans Elect rules, Roemer must select a running mate that is a political Independent or from the Democratic Party since Roemer has been associated with the Republican Party for most of his career. He recently changed his affiliation to the Reform Party of the United States in order to seek that party’s presidential nomination.

Roemer’s campaign manager Carlos Sierra told Wikinews that he personally knows who makes up the 23 individuals on the list, but would not disclose any names. He added that “some of them [the potential candidates] are aware they are on the list.”

Americans Elect is attempting to appear on the Election Day ballot in all 50 states and has currently secured access in 26. Candidates on the website are rated by the number of supporters. Roemer currently leads with 4,632 followed by former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson with 2,824 supporters, activist Michealene Risley is third with 1,791, and economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff is close behind with 1,726. Ron Paul leads all draft candidates with 8,889, but there is no indication he will seek the nomination.



Related articles

  • “U.S. Constitution Party nominates former Congressman Virgil Goode for president” — Wikinews, April 22, 2012
  • “US Secret Service agents face investigation for Colombian sex scandal” — Wikinews, April 19, 2012
  • “Rick Santorum drops U.S. presidential bid” — Wikinews, April 11, 2012
  • Buddy Roemer ends Republican presidential bid to seek Reform Party nomination” — Wikinews, February 23, 2012
  • “U.S. presidential candidate Gary Johnson leaves GOP to vie for the LP nom” — Wikinews, December 29, 2011
  • “Wikinews interviews U.S. Libertarian Party potential presidential candidate R.J. Harris” — Wikinews, June 17, 2011

Sources

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

March 15, 2012

Rocky Anderson announces he will seek Americans Elect nomination

Rocky Anderson announces he will seek Americans Elect nomination

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rocky Anderson in 2009
Image: Don LaVange.

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson announced yesterday that he will seek the U.S. presidential nomination of Americans Elect, an independent organization hoping to field a nonpartisan presidential ticket. Anderson is already the nominee of the Justice Party, which he founded late last year.

Anderson served as mayor of Salt Lake City from 2000 to 2008 as a Democrat. During his time in office, he enacted proposals to reduce the city’s carbon emissions and reformed its criminal justice system. After leaving office, he grew critical of President Barack Obama, and left the Democratic Party. He later established the Justice Party, which promotes “social justice, environmental justice, and economic justice” as well as campaign finance reform. The party has qualified for the ballot in Utah and Mississippi.

Americans Elect has already attained ballot access in eighteen states, and is petitioning to appear in all fifty. It hopes to nominate a ticket “responsive to the vast majority of citizens while remaining independent of special interests and the partisan interests of either major political party.” Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer and economist Laurence Kotlikoff have both announced their intentions to seek the party’s nomination. Additionally, former Utah governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, Jr. has received recent speculation that he will make a run for the nomination with former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh as his running mate.

In a press release, Anderson explained, “The Democrats and Republicans no longer respect nor represent the public interest. They both feed from the same trough of, and depend upon, special interest money”, but Americans Elect “gives the American people the ability to select their choice for President without worrying about the corporate investors backing their campaign.”



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March 8, 2012

Wikinews interviews Americans Elect presidential candidate Mike Ballantine

Wikinews interviews Americans Elect presidential candidate Mike Ballantine

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wikinews reporter Paul Budd recently interviewed Mike Ballantine, a 2012 US Presidential candidate seeking the nomination of Americans Elect.

Mike Ballantine, 2009.
Image: Mcamelyne.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I’ve spent some time reading about you on your site at www.mikeballantine2012.org. Are you currently running as an independent or are you seeking a party’s formal nomination?

MB Our campaign was initiated to compete at Americans Elect. Whereas, I am a member of the Green Party and have registered as a Green Party candidate, our emphasis rests with Americans Elect (AE). The requirement for AE candidates is that the winner presents a bi-partisan team to overcome the normal party restrictions. If we tried to run a campaign that was both a Green Party campaign and an AE campaign, then both groups would feel cheated. Once we are successful, we will approach the Green Party at the convention and try to come to an agreement about moving forward but it is not a key issue at this time.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do I understand that you do not currently reside in the U.S.?

MB In 2011, I lived in Hanoi, Vietnam. Now I am living in Texas for the duration of the campaign.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Where did you grow up?

MB I grew-up in Pennsylvania and graduated from Milton Hershey School for disadvantaged children.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are you married? Do you have children?

MB I am divorced with 5 children spread across the world. My children, like me, have a global view of life.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Tell us about your education/academic background.

MB I earned my Bachelor’s in Jewish Studies and Economics. Shortly after that, I enrolled in a Business Diploma program where I learned accounting and finance. Currently, I am enrolled in a Master’s program to earn my degree in Education specializing in teaching English as a second language (TESOL) and curriculum development.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have any U.S. political leaders formally endorsed you for President?

MB I don’t have any endorsements and don’t expect any before the primaries take place. As a nontraditional candidate, people like me represent a threat to the entrenched interests.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts about the economy in the U.S. today?

MB The US economy has become markedly stratified between the well-educated/wealthy and the working class. Whereas, things are pretty good for a small minority, they continue to deteriorate for everybody else. Right now, we are in the eye of the storm and one can expect things to turn decidedly worse in the spring once the Eurozone moves back into the red and China begins to falter. Until the Federal Reserve takes appropriate action to stop housing prices from falling, America will remain mired in its economic malaise.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts about America’s military….present and future?

MB Even at the reduced figure of $660 billion, America still spends a ridiculous amount on defense to confront imaginary enemies. Certainly, there are groups that oppose America and would like to see us falter but one does not fight bearded guys on horseback with super carriers. Our military is designed to fight or confront other large militaries that no longer exist. America needs to rethink its military posture to reflect the its true requirements over the next decade and stop fighting the wars of the 19th century. To do this, we will need to end overseas projections and work through regional blocs by providing them with logistical support instead of always resorting to muscle flexing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are there any regional or state-based organizations who’ve endorsed you or are supporting you?

MB There are no organizations that are endorsing me. Once we show grassroots support, I will be asking the PERI Institute to evaluate our economic plan and endorse it. Our plan has a lot of similarities to their plan to create jobs. I will also approach leading economists who have written extensively about what needs to be done despite being ignored by Republicans and Democrats.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Regarding your personal/political ideology, who has influenced you most?

MB I have always admired Teddy Roosevelt for his willingness to go against the political animals of the day and wage a campaign to do the right thing. Certainly, he was not perfect but he stood up for the people and took on the corporations. As a child, like many of my friends, I admired JFK for his ideas and the notion that devotion to public service was the responsibility of every citizen. I have never forgotten his mantra and that is one reason why I am running for President today.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png If elected, what would your first 100 days in office look like?

MB I suspect my first 100 days would be tumultuous. An independent has not won in 100 years, so I imagine Congress will be flummoxed by the prospect of working outside their comfort zone. We plan on presenting a three-in-one package because all three are essential to success. First, our 20 million job creation plan, our single-payer health plan, and our debt restructuring plan. Until Congress takes action in all three areas, America will continue to move sideways or decline overall. With a mandate, we believe we will have some success with Congress but we are prepared to resort to the bully pulpit to promote this legislation.

Mr. Ballantine added:

“One final note: Since the inception of our campaign, AE has modified the rules. Our campaign has moved beyond just offering myself as a Presidential candidate. We have a co-Presidency proposal combining the experience of Jon Huntsman as a running mate. Our campaign believes that we cannot simply offer an individual with ideas but that we need to offer a package defining how we will govern the nation. The President is not Superman and I do not pretend to be the most knowledgeable person for the job. You can find our new campaign website at: www.mikeandjon2012.com”



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

External Links

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March 3, 2012

On the campaign trail, February 2012

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

On the campaign trail, February 2012

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
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Saturday, March 3, 2012

The following is the fourth 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 Libertarian Party holds a primary in Missouri, Wikinews interviews a lesser-known Republican candidate focused on the nuclear situation in Iran, and a Democratic candidate disputes a “one-dimensional” label.

Summary

In February 2012, three well-known figures announced third party runs. Comedienne Roseanne Barr announced she would seek the Green Party‘s presidential nomination. Former Congressman Virgil Goode opened a Constitution Party campaign. And former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer proclaimed he would seek the Reform Party presidential nomination in addition to Americans Elect.

Santorum bows his head to pray during a February fundraiser in Arizona.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Mitt Romney won the endorsement of businessman Donald Trump, and was victorious in the February 4 Nevada caucus. Three days later, Rick Santorum gained momentum with a sweep of three non-binding contests in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri. Though Romney gained a victory in the Maine caucus, Santorum’s momentum pushed him ahead. He led the polls in Romney’s former homestate of Michigan, shot to first place in national opinion polls, and won the endorsement of former Senator and current Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who retracted his support for Romney. Talk increased of someone else entering the GOP race if Romney lost Michigan.

Santorum’s rise and the Obama administration’s new contraceptive mandate brought social issues to the forefront of the GOP race. The role of church and state gained prominence as Santorum remarked that hearing President John F. Kennedy‘s 1960 speech on separation of two, “makes him throw up”. After a poor performance in the month’s final GOP debate, Santorum began to fall in the Michigan polls. However, members of the Democratic Party planned to vote for Santorum in the open primary, and Santorum ran robo-calls to Democrats asking for their support. In the end, Romney won in both Michigan and Arizona.

Newt Gingrich, who largely skipped Michigan and Arizona, focused early on the Super Tuesday states, which hold their primaries in the first week of March. Ron Paul continued his run as well following a close second place finish in Maine. At the end of the month, rumors spread of a Paul-Romney alliance after an analysis of previous debates showed that Paul never attacked Romney directly, and after Paul’s son Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said “it would be an honor to be considered” as Romney’s running mate. A spokesman for Ron Paul’s campaign denied the rumors.

Missouri Libertarian Party primary results

In Missouri, the Libertarian Party held its first primary of the 2012 election cycle. Parliamentary advocate James Ogle, the only candidate listed on the ballot, edged “uncommitted” 52.7 percent to 47.3 percent to win the majority of votes. This was something a Libertarian candidate could not accomplish during the 2008 primary, when “uncommitted” won a plurality.

██ James Ogle

██ Uncommitted

Image: William S. Saturn.

Ogle has operated and promoted a fantasy government project based on the Sainte-Laguë method of voting since 1993. It is known as the USA Parliament. Ogle believes his username for the project — Joogle, a combination of his surname and first and middle initials — served as a basis for the name of the search engine Google; for his campaign, he uses the slogan “Go Ogle”.

To appear on the Missouri ballot, Ogle paid a filing fee of $1000. He was the only Libertarian candidate to do so. Ogle thinks this happened because he is “accessible” in comparison to his opponents, “perhaps the other candidates couldn’t be reached, and since there was about a 48 hour deadline to file the papers, they either didn’t want to spend the $30 on overnight postage, they simply didn’t know or else they didn’t want to file.” Other candidates for the Libertarian Party nomination, who missed the ballot, include former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, former air traffic controller RJ Harris, and activist R. Lee Wrights.

Just before the primary, an article in the Missourian newspaper chronicled Ogle’s campaign. He believes this contributed to his victory. In the story, he “was able to explain about ranked choice voting, the Libertarian’s philosophy of the non initiation of force, smaller government and more liberty.” In addition, the report mentioned Ogle’s desire to be the running mate of Green Party presidential candidate Roseanne Barr.

According to Ogle: “the combination of all these events, somehow could have prompted more to ask for the Libertarian ballot when they went to the voting booth.”

The non-binding primary is the only contest the Libertarian Party will hold before its nominating convention in May. California is also to hold a primary, but it is scheduled after the nomination. Ogle is to appear on the California ballot.

Republican focuses on Iran

Republican presidential candidate Hugh Cort, a psychiatrist and President of the non-profit American Foundation for Counter-Terrorism Policy and Research, describes his campaign’s status as “wait-and-see”. In December, he participated in the Republican Party’s lesser-known candidates forum, and was included on the New Hampshire Republican primary ballot. He received a total of three votes.

Nevertheless, Cort’s main area of concern is the nuclear situation in Iran, which garnered significant press in February. Iran, which claims it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes, blocked International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from monitoring a site suspected of containing nuclear weapons research. Increasing western sanctions against the country have resulted in threats from the government that it will cut off oil exports to Europe and/or close the strategic Strait of Hormuz. This talk has affected the price of crude oil. Commentators have suggested that war is looming.

Republican Hugh Cort
Image: Marc Nozell.

Cort, who has written a book entitled The American Hiroshima: Iran’s Plan for a Nuclear Attack on the United States, which he gave to Mitt Romney, believes Iran already has a nuclear weapon and that an attack on the United States is “very likely to happen in the very near future.” He tells Wikinews that if “Iran does detonate some nuclear bombs in American cities, I would consider continuing my run for President, under the assumption that perhaps America would like to elect someone who knows something about counter-terrorism.”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow should the president address the nuclear situation in Iran?

Hugh Cort: The President should say that America will help Israel to take out Iran’s nuclear sites. He should also prepare America for the possibility that Iran may have nuclear bombs already here, giving instructions on how to cope if a nuclear bomb should go off. Although some would say not to take out Iran’s nuclear sites for fear of retaliation from Iran, if we let Iran get nuclear weapons, they will then make much more devastating nuclear bombs, such as plutonium bombs with a 5 Megaton yield (350 times the size of a Hiroshima blast). With the bombs that Iran may already have now, they could damage America, but America would survive. If they are allowed to make the bigger bombs (for example 100 Megaton bombs) they would destroy America. Remember, Iran’s leaders have a suicide bomber’s mentality—they do not fear death. In fact, Ahmadinejad has said the role of Iran is to be a martyr, in order to bring about the destruction of America and Israel which will usher in the coming of his messiah, the “12th Imam”, or “Mahdi“. The leaders of Iran are religious fanatics who will not listen to reason.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow did Mitt Romney react when you handed him your book?

Hugh Cort: I did not personally give my book to Mitt Romney—a friend of mine in Florida did. She said he took it seriously, as have two Governors of Alabama, several Senators, and many others. When I met in the Eisenhower Office Building in the White House compound with the Senior Director for Counter-Terrorism of the National Security Council, Nick Rasmussen, he took our research very seriously.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhich of the presidential candidates is best equipped to handle the Iran situation?

Hugh Cort: I believe the Presidential candidate best able to handle the Iran situation, other than myself, is Newt Gingrich, closely followed by Rick Santorum, closely followed by Mitt Romney. All three would do a much better job than Obama. Ron Paul, unfortunately, although he is good on the economy, is a dismal failure in foreign policy and is totally naïve on the very grave threat of the Iran situation.

More than one-dimensional?

Democratic presidential candidate Randall Terry is best known as an anti-abortion advocate. However, he says he is not the “one-dimensional” character portrayed in the press. He tells Wikinews that in addition to his activism, he has experience in theology, foreign policy, and music.

Randall Terry
Image: Marc Nozell.

Terry finished second in the Missouri Democratic primary in February and ranks above all primary challengers to President Barack Obama. He received some media attention this month for attempting to run Super Bowl advertisements in Chicago that showed aborted fetuses. A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling prevented him from showing the ads since he is not on the Illinois Democratic primary ballot. However, after the Super Bowl, Terry was able to target the ads in Oklahoma. He will be on that state’s March 6 primary ballot, and federal law requires stations to show paid advertisements for “legally qualified candidates”.

After this and a February 22 Daily Caller report that conservative icon Ann Coulter planned to speak at a Terry fundraiser, Wikinews caught up with Terry.

“I have obtained a one-dimensional personality in the news”, says Terry, “I have a Masters in Diplomacy and International Terrorism from Norwich University…I have a BA in Theology. A BA in Communications from the SUNY [State University of New York]. A daily TV show seen in 44 markets. [And] I have lectured at the Vatican.”

He mentions that he authored two papers on Islamic terrorism, which are accessible from his campaign website. These are titled, “How do the words and deeds of Islamic terrorists, or Muslims who call for acts of terror and violence, emulate the words and deeds of Muhammad?” and “Is Islamic Shaira [sic] Law Incompatible With International Laws of Human Rights for Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion and Expression?”

Terry adds, “I used to be an accomplished musician.” His songs “I’m Cryin for you Baby”, “I Do”, “Te Deum”, “United We Stand”, and “Let Those Cookies Burn” can be heard on his website.



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February 23, 2012

Buddy Roemer ends Republican presidential bid to seek Reform Party nomination

Buddy Roemer ends Republican presidential bid to seek Reform Party nomination

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Roemer speaks to the Reform Party of New Jersey in December 2011.
Image: Greenguy89.

Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer ended his campaign for the Republican Party (GOP) presidential nomination yesterday to seek the backing of the Reform Party of the United States of America. He plans to make the official announcement at a press conference later today, and also reaffirms his quest for the Americans Elect nod.

Roemer, who limits campaign contributions to $100.00 and does not accept money from Political Action Committees, has made campaign finance reform a centerpiece of his run. He announced his candidacy last July, but was unable to make headway in presidential polls. As a result, he was not invited to any GOP debates.

Last December, Roemer announced that he would seek the nomination of Americans Elect, an independent organization hoping to field a nonpartisan presidential ticket. Later that month, he addressed the Reform Party of New Jersey, fueling speculation that he would seek the party’s nomination. However, after the meeting, campaign manager Carlos Sierra told Wikinews that Roemer “does not intend to seek their nomination”. He now says that Roemer changed his mind after “[n]ot getting into any of the GOP debates.”

Industrialist Ross Perot founded the Reform Party in 1995. As the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, he received over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third party candidate since. After this, the party was plagued by infighting, and decreased in prominence. In 2008, Ted Weill was nominated for president, but appeared on the ballot in only Mississippi, receiving 481 votes. Since then, the party has revived somewhat, and has already attained ballot access in four states.

Wikinews held a forum in January for the candidates seeking the party’s presidential nomination. All three then-candidates participated, including former college football coach Robby Wells, Earth Intelligence Network CEO Robert David Steele, and small business owner Andre Barnett.

Since then, Steele ended his campaign, and Wells dropped out to seek the Constitution Party nomination. For now, Roemer will face Barnett, as well as economist Dick McCormick, who recently announced his candidacy.

Roemer plans to make his announcement today in Santa Monica, California. His campaign manager looks forward to the next stage, explaining, “we believe we can form a powerful coalition of Americans who are tired of the status quo.”



Related articles

  • “Former Congressman Virgil Goode enters race for Constitution Party presidential nomination” — Wikinews, February 18, 2012
  • Wikinews holds Reform Party USA presidential candidates forum” — Wikinews, January 3, 2012
  • “On the campaign trail, December 2011” — Wikinews, January 1, 2012
  • “Campaign manager: 100 percent chance Buddy Roemer will run for Americans Elect presidential nomination” — Wikinews, December 1, 2011
  • “Wikinews interviews Buddy Roemer, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate” — Wikinews, October 30, 2011
  • “Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer announces run for president” — Wikinews, July 22, 2011

Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
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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 3, 2012

Wikinews holds Reform Party USA presidential candidates forum

Wikinews holds Reform Party USA presidential candidates forum

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Logo for the Reform Party of the United States of America.
Image: Reform Party National Committee.

Three men are currently seeking the presidential nomination of the Reform Party of the United States of America: small business owner Andre Barnett, Earth Intelligence Network CEO Robert Steele, and former college football coach Robby Wells. Wikinews reached out to these candidates and asked each of them five questions about their campaigns. There were no space limits placed on the responses, and no candidate was exposed to another’s responses before making their own. The answers are posted below in unedited form for comparison of the candidates.

The Reform Party is a United States third party that was founded in 1995 by industrialist Ross Perot. Perot ran as the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, and won over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third party candidate since. In 1998, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura ran on the Reform Party ticket and was elected Governor of Minnesota. The party fell in prominence during the lead-up to the 2000 presidential election when it was plagued by infighting between ideological factions. In 2000, paleoconservative Pat Buchanan won the presidential nomination, and went on to receive only 0.4 percent of the popular vote in the general election. In 2004, the party opted to endorse consumer advocate Ralph Nader, but ended the year nearly bankrupt. In 2008, Ted Weill won the party’s presidential nomination, but appeared on the ballot in only one state and won a total of 481 votes.

The party is currently trying to rebuild and has opened several new state chapters. They will attempt to appear on the ballot in more states for the 2012 presidential election. The party is expected to nominate its presidential ticket during the National Convention this summer.

The candidates

Candidates for the Reform Party USA presidential nomination
Image: Andre Barnett. Andre Barnett of Poughkeepsie, New York served in the U.S. Army until he was injured in a helicopter incident in 2000. Since that time, he has worked as a fitness model, has assisted several federal agencies and corporations in information technology services, and founded the company WiseDome, Inc. He considers himself a conservative.
Image: Reform Party National Committee. Robert Steele of Oakton, Virginia is CEO of the non-profit Earth Intelligence Network, which promotes “public intelligence in the public interest”. He previously served as a Marine Corps infantry officer, national intelligence officer, and in Marine Corps intelligence. For his presidential campaign, he focuses on his plans for electoral reform, the creation of a coalition cabinet, and the creation of an open forum for participatory democracy.
Image: Robby Wells. Robby Wells of Charlotte, North Carolina is the former head football coach for Savannah State University and former assistant coach for Benedict College, South Carolina State University, and the University of South Carolina. He joined the Army National Guard in 2006, and has worked as a motivational speaker. He bases his campaign on a platform called the “gameplan”.

Forum

Question 1

Wikinews waves Left.pngWIKINEWSWikinews waves Right.png Why did you decide to run for president?

Andre Barnett: Though it may seem a bit selfish, my decision was more of a conviction of heart, mind and spirit after seeing what my own family and friends were enduring during this economic downturn. As I began speaking with my fellow veterans and hearing about the lost jobs, homes, and families many issues came into focus. The time I spent living overseas in different countries allowed me to studying their economies, governments, military capabilities, and learn what other countries really think about the US.
We can no longer accept the notion we are on a path of no return. Our government has an obligation to the people of this nation to address the needs and concerns they are facing.
Robert Steele: Multiple reasons. The economy killed my business, so I’ve been working on Electoral Reform. The Occupy movement raised my hopes that America was ready to wake up. I had also been sickened by the Republican clown show. The time seemed right for something better. While there are politicians I admire, none of them were offering the public a coherent, complete approach to restoring the Republic and the integrity of our government. That’s what I’m looking for, and that’s why I decided to run. Some will say I am a long shot but I actually believe that We the People can come together and win this in unconventional ways, and of course I believe very strongly that someone has to say what needs to be said: we live in a two-party tyranny, all three branches of the government have been captured by banks and corporations–hence the US Government no longer represents We the People. And – this is the big one – we have ONE SHOT, between now and 4 July 2012, to force the issue of Electoral Reform and take our government back.
Robby Wells: There are several reasons why I chose to run for President. I chose to run after observing the path our elected officials have been taking. It is obvious that the policies of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are not effective anymore. The 14 million that are unemployed, the 25 million that are underemployed, the 49 million that live in poverty, and the 149 million that are considered low income is proof that our two party system has failed. It is time for America to have strong leadership from someone that has the best interest of the citizens of this country. It is time for our country to move in a different direction. It is time for our country to make a “Real Change”. I believe that I am that candidate because I understand the pressures that 99% of our citizens face. Most of the top candidates for the GOP and President Obama are wealthy, and are out of touch with the vast majority of this country. I am just like most Americans. I consider myself middle class, have been unemployed, have been underemployed, and woke up every morning concerned about how I was going to provide for my family. Just like millions of Americans, I felt like the American Dream had been replaced with an Economic Nightmare. Someone had to take a stand. I love my country, and I know that my plan, “The Gameplan,” will bring our country back to economic greatness. You can view “The Gameplan” on my campaign web site : www.electrobbywells.com.

Question 2

Wikinews waves Left.pngWIKINEWSWikinews waves Right.png Why did you choose the Reform Party?

Andre Barnett: The Reform Party the party of solutions. This party is ready to propose to America a more excellent debate on the issues, a united and all-encompassing solution to address the issues of this great nation.
Robert Steele: Of the three excluded parties that are credible in America–Libertarian, Green, and Reform–only the Reform Party leadership was interested in a “complete” approach to reform. The others focus on important issues but don’t go far enough — Libertarians focus on civil liberties and the Constitution, and really do not think in strategic holistic terms; Greens have a lot of promise, and I am watching Jill Stein with interest, but they don’t have a coherent approach to governance either. The Reform Party is aptly named by its founder, Ross Perot, and after overcoming years of internal legal battles is now ready to come out and represent ALL of us, or as they put it, everyone between the two extremes. The USA needs the Reform Party now.
Robby Wells: I chose the Reform Party for several reasons. In 1992, Ross Perot ran for President, and he recieved almost 20% of the vote as an Independent Candidate. In 1996, Mr. Perot had formed the Reform Party, and he once again ran on that ticket. I supported Ross Perot, and I believe that he was about 15 years ahead of his time. I truly believe that America is sick and tired of being sick and tired of our elected Republicans and Democrats actions in Washington. We have too many politicians that go to Washington trying to keep their job in lieu of doing their job. The Reform Party believes in balancing the Federal Budget, spending only what we have, creating jobs in America for Americans, government reform (term limits), and tax reform. Their philosophies are in line with my philosophies, and it seemed like a great fit when the leadership of the Reform Party contacted me and asked me to be a part of their party.

Question 3

Wikinews waves Left.pngWIKINEWSWikinews waves Right.png Why would you be a better candidate than your two opponents for the nomination?

Andre Barnett: I do not intend to engage in “1 upper” politics. I am about the movement this party is moving towards. I am interested in redirecting this conversation towards the solutions we have to offer and working with the other candidates to show a stability this country is longing for.
Robert Steele: The other two candidates for the Reform Party nomination are good-hearted individuals who share my commitment to reform. I have the experience to back it up. I have a deep understanding of how government corruption works and what can be done about it; an understanding of why Occupy matters and how to work with them; and I know how to address patterns of failure, how to recover the substance of governance, how respond to legitimate grievances, and how to begin to roll back much more that is hurting this country. This is all discussed in my book, ELECTION 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Earth Intelligence Network, 2008), on sale at Amazon and also free online.
I have a fully articulated strategy that we need now: Electoral Reform, a Coalition Cabinet and a Balanced Budget announced by 4 July 2011, and a commitment to True Cost Economics–this is an approach that seeks to create a We the People Reform Coalition that is attractive to moderates from both parties, to Independents, and to all the parties excluded from US politics today, Libertarians and Greens included. I am running less as a Reform Party candidate and more as a team-building candidate. I have already named my preferred Cabinet members—subject of course to changes as the coalition evolves—and I am well on my way to crowd-sourcing a balanced budget that connects the true needs and priorities of the public with their money – the two-party tyranny has been using the public’s money to enrich themselves and their cronies across America (not just Wall Street); the two-party tyranny is out of touch with ethics, the public, and reality. I have the capacity to engage Independents and all others with a new direction not offered elsewhere – not from any party including the Democratic Party.
Robby Wells: Coaching is a complex job involving strategic thinking, leadership ability, obtaining and keeping respect, and judging the abilities of the people you have at your disposal. My career in coaching has well prepared me for a leadership position in government. A good coach knows that his players have skills he doesn’t have, but he understands what abilities they DO have. He uses good judgement in choosing the right people for the task at hand, and knows how to use them effectively. He knows when to let them do their job while he watches, and when to step in and take a hands-on approach.
As president, I will bring the same mentality to the White House. I will look across the political spectrum and choose the best partisan and nonpartisan people; people with knowledge, expertise, and credibility who have already earned your trust, for all cabinet positions. And I will use my long years of leadership to know when to let them do their job, and when to step in and take a more direct role to get the most out of that team for the American people. Because we all deserve a White House that can go up against America’s problems and WIN – not fumble at 4th and ten.

Question 4

Wikinews waves Left.pngWIKINEWSWikinews waves Right.png If nominated, what will you do to gain ballot access?

Andre Barnett: I will be working to unify this party during the course of this campaign. With unification we will better be able to utilize the ground game for petitioning. I also believe I will be able to acquire other ballot access lines.
Robert Steele: BEFORE anyone is elected, I am working hard to present every single politician up for reelection with an Electoral Reform Pledge. I am the one who presented the original Statement of Demand and Electoral Reform Act to Occupy in NYC. It has since been crowd-sourced and attracted a range of very serious proponents from across the country. Tomorrow there is an Inter-Occupy telephone conference call to discuss Occupy’s morphing toward political activism. Our goal is simple: to get an Occupy political liaison in each of the 50 states, and to then recruit citizen delegations in each of the Congressional districts. BEFORE Congress returns to Washington in January, I want a simple table showing where every one of the Representatives and Senators stands on Electoral Reform: red, yellow, or green. The rest is up to the public.
Ideally, Congress would be forced to pass the Electoral Reform Act in January 2012, in time for the first half of the provisions to apply to November 2012. I think Americans Elect–a good idea corrupted in its implementation–will be litigated into oblivion by the two-party tyranny. We have to force Congress to be honest. The documents can be seen online.
AT A MINIMUM and in time for November 2012 I want Congress to mandate that all states be required to put the presidential candidates on the state ballot for each and every party that has achieved national party status. In addition, Electoral College votes should be apportioned across the party spectrum, not in a winner takes all manner, but that’s going to be harder. Both of these corrections are Constitutional and within the power of Congress to enact.
The corruption of the electoral process at both the state and federal levels has made a mockery of our Founding Fathers, the concept of a Republic, and all because our elected politicians and their appointees are completely lacking in integrity. They have sold out their public for a bit of gold. If I am nominated, I will work with Occupy and others (veterans, young people who should have the vote) to SHUT DOWN any Presidential debate that does not have me and other third party candidates fully integrated into anything televised over public air waves. Litigation has not worked in the past because the courts–including the Supreme Court—just go along… What will work is Occupy. Organized people will defeat organized money every time. Now is that time.
Robby Wells: I have friends and business colleagues all over the country. I am relying on them, and volunteers to help us gain access on the ballaots in each state. Every state has different guidelines, and I am relying on the people of our country to take a stand for our future by helping us get on every state’s ballot. We will be holding a petition drive to make this a reality. The Reform Party is already on the ballot in five states, and has easy access in another 25 states. That leaves us some hard work to gain access on all 50 states, but I believe the people of America are ready to be heard.

Question 5

Wikinews waves Left.pngWIKINEWSWikinews waves Right.png What are some of your policy proposals, and how will you implement them as President?

Andre Barnett: My policy is based around all-encompassing solutions. It is impossible for us to pick out one portion of the larger overshadowing issue and try to fix just that part. The economy is connected to healthcare which is connected to entitlements, which is connected to jobs, which is connected to education, etc… I will provide you with an excerpt of what is on my site.
Enhancing Health Care
Healthcare in the US is so overpriced in comparison to other modern developed nations. Our healthcare system, though we claim it to be the best in the world, is out reach for too many that will never experience its benefits. Insurance companies have been able to drive up cost as well as double dipping billers (doctors and doctor’s groups) have taken advantage of the general public. With this in mind many who cannot afford healthcare have no choice but to take advantage of whatever treatment they can get and the bill is passed to the rest of the tax payers.
The medical industry justifies the cost by flashing new technology costs and pharmaceutical development cost. Truth be told, that cost is recouped many times over as physicians receive kickbacks from prescribing various drugs in their infancy stages that have not been fully tested. I am aware of this from firsthand experience. Here is what I support:
  • Healthcare insurance premiums need to be regulated and driven down to affordable levels. This need not be the battle of the federal government as it is one of the major factors in the exploding cost. Intra-business sector checks and balances is one of the best ways to manage any flocculation in cost. Allowing business to bear the burden of the premium cost (not pass it onto the employee) would allow for much lower premiums and also elimination of the government’s role in these negotiation processes. This in turn would allow for the only foreseeable tax deduction for corporations lowering the tax rate to below the 12% threshold.
This is capitalism in its truest form and the only way to dramatically reduce the size of government. This also permits all family members to be covered and fewer uninsured greatly increasing the pool size driving down cost. To allow small businesses to take part in these savings, they would be placed in the same pools with larger companies to drive down cost even further. What better way to negotiate lower premiums than to have business sectors performing the negotiations of prices they are willing to pay.
  • Healthcare funded by the government should be subject to the same rules as the GSA, in that the lowest price offered to any customer must be the price made available to the government for provisioning to those not working (for a finite period of time). This would be in the cases where an employee has been laid off and cannot afford healthcare insurance on their own and would last for the duration of unemployment.
Though this is only a portion of the plan, I am sure you can see where I am going. Reducing the government’s role in this entire process and letting the economy perform as it was meant to, that is what I support. This process should be adapted to all sectors to eliminate the government’s role as a micromanaging resource hog. http://bit.ly/t2th4j
Robert Steele: I am the only candidate–including the incumbent—who has a concept of operations for modern governance. I have presented much of this in my chapters in ELECTION 2008: Lipstick on the Pig, and point to The Substance of Governance as well as Candidates on the Issues, where my populist and centrist views are clearly outlined in the summary section for each issue area. However, for the purposes of your excellent question, I will summarize my policy proposals at four levels.
At the highest strategic level, America must restore integrity to its electoral process, its government, and its commercial community. This integrity demands that we apply True Cost Economics–calculating the cost of all externalities and of now devalued precious elements such as drinkable water–in every transaction. A Balanced Budget is what sane responsible people do–for the two-party tyranny and its banking and media partners to have sanctioned by omission the FACT that we have been borrowing a third of our federal budget each year for over thirty years shames me for my prolonged ignorance, and angers me as a responsible citizen. That stops immediately. Governance with integrity is not possible under a winner take all “do as I say” system. A Coalition Cabinet that can achieve responsible informed consensus is essential. I have already selected my Cabinet, and I believe you will find the specifics very revealing about both my competence and my ethics. The Federal Reserve will be turned over to someone like Ron Paul, and as soon as he has done what needs to be done, he will be my nominee for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court–I anticipate at least four justices finding compelling reasons to resign from the court in my first two years in office. For one third of what we spend on war we can achieve a prosperous world at peace–I am fed up with the corruption in the military, prison, health, and energy complexes. Our coalition administration will be one that makes decisions based on public intelligence in the public interest.
At the operational level, we need to eliminate substantial portions of the existing government including the Department of Homeland Security, the Internal Revenue Agency, half or more of the Departments of Education, Health & Human Services, and etcetera. All of it needs to be scrubbed. The US Government is not a “government,” but rather a series of Cabinet Departments and agency stove-pipes that exist to protect “budget share” for their stakeholders–their stakeholders are NOT the public as one might expect, but rather those that receive public funds via a Congress that discounts the Treasury by 95%, earmarking treasure for things we do not need and cannot afford, solely to “earn” their 5% “cut” (bribe). I have written extensively on how to restructure the government and reallocate our precious funds. I would start by appointing two Deputies. The first–and Michael Bloomberg gets this job if he wants it–will be Deputy for Education, Intelligence, and Research, responsible for stripping two thirds of the money from the ineffective corrupt secret intelligence world, and applying that toward holistic integrative education and research such that we become a Smart Nation, a concept I developed in 1994. The second will be Deputy for Global Engagement, with oversight of commerce, diplomacy, and the military. Two thirds of the military budget will be stripped down and away from corporate vapor-ware, with half being pure savings that lower the debt, and the other half funding what we need to be credible and competitive world-wide. Our infantry, 4% of the force, takes 80% of the casualties and receives 1% of the Pentagon budget. I will redirect 20% of the surviving military budget to the infantry, sponsor a 450-ship Navy that is truly expeditionary, closes down all of our overseas bases without exception, create a long-haul Air Force, and end our dependence on very vulnerable and costly satellites for all communications. If should mention that in ending personal and business taxes—in fact most taxes—we will be substituting the Automatic Payment Transaction (APT) Tax, that yields a much higher revenue stream across a broader base, while drastically reducing the contributions of individuals and small businesses.
At the tactical level–the grassroots level where America is nearly comatose, I want to work with the Governors, whom I will elevate to be co-equal to the Senate as an advisory chamber–there is a great deal to be done. 46 million Americans are on food stamps today, we have destroyed not just the middle class but also the once proud and vital senior blue collar class, and we have lost an entire generation if not too to an educational system that is mediocre at best, pathologically inept at worst. I have been developing a plan with a former Deputy Secretary of Labor to fund a full year of employment and training for every unemployed American, using a mix of academic, private sector, and military induction centers to get every citizen off the streets, on a payroll, and learning what they need to know to make their own way in the 21st Century. We need to kill most of the regulations that prevent state-based businesses from flourishing–butchers, for example–we need to push back hard on absentee and mega farming, and we need to work very very hard toward resilience across every state. Larger cities need to be broken up into smaller cities, suburbs need to be restored to farming, I could go on–we need to redesign our Republic for people–for the good of the many–rather than what we have now, a pig farm that profits only a few.
Technically I am very enthusiastic about Open Everything. I have a book coming out from Random House / Evolver Editions, the same group that published Charles Eisenstein’s Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition. My title is THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth, & Trust. The book will come out in June 2012, and it is a manifesto for all of us–it is a book that along with others marks the beginning of Epoch B, the restoration of bottom-up multi-cultural consensus, of decisions made by people of good will acting on all available information and thinking long-term. I will turn the US Government into the world’s first open source software, open source hardware, and open spectrum engine of prosperity, migrating all of this out to the other intelligence tribes (academia, commerce, local and state government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-government / non-profit). My primary instrument for doing this will be the Open Source Agency that I have advocated since the early 1990’s. We will create the World Brain Institute and the Global Game–I have Medard Gabel, co-creator of the analog World Game with Buckminster Fuller ready to go–and we will harness the distributed intelligence of every human mind in every language all of the time. This will eradicate corruption and be the technical foundation for creating a prosperous world at peace.
I know how to do all of this. What I do not know how to do is raise money. All I can do at this point in time is show myself to be engaged, and hope that kindred spirits find me.
I will do what I can. The rest is in the hands of the public.
Learn more at http://tinyurl.com/Reform-Steele-2012
Robby Wells: Please go to my campaign web site: www.electrobbywells.com and click on “The Gameplan”. This is my step by step, common sense approach to bringing the United States of America back to economic greatness. I cover job creation / Getting Americans Back to Work, becoming and Energy Independent Nation, Foreclosure Credit Forgiveness, Securing our border with Mexico, National Defense, Tax Reform, and Government Reform. These are the main issues that concern most Americans, and my plan is very effective, and moves our country in a positive direction.



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January 1, 2012

On the campaign trail, December 2011

On the campaign trail, December 2011 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, December 2011

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

The following is the second 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 campaign manager for a candidate already seeking two presidential nominations discusses the likelihood his candidate will run for the Reform Party’s nomination; a lesser known candidates forum reveals an alternative fuel possibility and concludes in a dramatic fashion; and the newly nominated candidate for the Boston Tea Party talks with Wikinews.

Summary

Ron Paul speaks at an Iowa campaign event, December 28.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

In December 2011, businessman Herman Cain ended his campaign for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination amid allegations of sexual harassment and an extramarital affair. Hoping to appeal to social conservatives, Texas governor Rick Perry released a commercial in Iowa entitled “Strong”, in which he states, “there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” While the video received 24,407 likes by the end of the month, it received 725,698 dislikes.

Frontrunner Newt Gingrich had trouble of his own after he suggested during an interview with The Jewish Channel that Palestinians were an “invented people”. He refused to retract the comments at the final GOP debate before the January 3 Iowa Caucus. Gingrich’s lead in the polls disappeared as Mitt Romney won big endorsements from South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, former Senator Bob Dole, and former president George H.W. Bush.

Meanwhile, Congressman Ron Paul rose in the polls as well, trailing Romney by two points in the final NBC/Marist poll of the year with Rick Santorum surging and Rick Perry close behind. However, Paul encountered his own troubles as the media reported on articles published in his newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s that included incendiary comments about blacks, gays, and Israel. Paul says he did not write the articles and has publicly disavowed them in the past. Additionally, Paul won the backing of Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson, who previously served as the state chairman for Michele Bachmann, who continued to sag in the polls since winning the Ames Straw Poll in August.

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, another candidate who had been low in the Republican polls, announced a switch to the Libertarian Party to run for that party’s presidential nomination. Analysts have suggested that if Johnson wins the Libertarian nomination, he could possibly take votes away from the Republican nominee and help President Barack Obama win re-election.

Possible Reform Party candidate?

Roemer speaks to the Reform Party of New Jersey on December 10.
Image: Greenguy89.

Presidential candidate Buddy Roemer addressed members of the Reform Party of New Jersey on December 10 at a joint Reform Party-Tea Party event. The meeting raised speculation that Roemer, who is currently running for the presidential nominations of both the Republican Party and Americans Elect, would also seek the nomination of the Reform Party of the United States of America.

Dennis Mikolay, a member of the New Jersey party’s leadership, wrote on his blog that “there are efforts within the Reform Party to draft him [Roemer] as their candidate”. However, Roemer, who served as Governor of Louisiana as a Republican, does not seem interested in the nomination. According to campaign manager Carlos Sierra, the Reform Party has “reached out to us…but the Governor does not intend to seek their nomination. He is focused primarily on the GOP nomination. We think once his message gets a stage and an audience, that it will resonate with the Republican Party and Independents. The problem is he keeps getting shut out of the debates.”

Industrialist Ross Perot founded the Reform Party in 1995. He won the party’s presidential nomination the next year and received over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third party candidate since. After this, the party was plagued by infighting, and decreased in prominence. In 2008, Ted Weill was nominated for president, but appeared only on the ballot in Mississippi and received 481 votes.

For 2012, three candidates have announced their intentions to seek the party’s nomination: former college football coach Robby Wells, Earth Intelligence Network CEO Robert David Steele, and small business owner Andre Barnett.

Lesser-known candidates forum

On December 19, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics hosted a forum at St. Anselm College to present lesser-known candidates for the Republican and Democratic Party presidential nominations. Wikinews covered the Democratic Party forum that showcased candidates challenging President Barack Obama for that party’s presidential nomination, including anti-abortion activist Randall Terry and performance artist Vermin Supreme.

Vermin Supreme glitter bombs Randall Terry during the Democratic Party presidential candidates forum as John Wolfe looks on.
Image: Marc Nozell.

A high point of the forum occurred after Vermin Supreme delivered his final statement. He exclaimed, “Jesus told me to make Randall Terry gay” and proceeded to glitter bomb Terry while shouting, “he’s turning gay.” Terry had earlier affirmed his opposition to same-sex marriage, comparing it to slavery and abortion. Supreme later told Wikinews that Terry “took his glittering like a man, a gay man. I don’t know if the fairy dust turned him gay right away, but he took his medicine, and he seemed to enjoy it on some level.” Though Terry could not be reached for comment, he wrote on his blog that the glitter bombing “appeared to have no impact on me becoming homosexual.” Supreme claims he was threatened by a Terry supporter after the forum and is now “seeking Secret Service protection.” He has no plans to glitter bomb anyone else.

Supreme says that he had previously met Terry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and “was given the distinct impression that he (Terry) wanted to perform fellatio on me.” He says that prior to the forum, he offered “to have ‘homosexual gay sex’ in the lavatory stall”, but Terry declined. During the forum, Supreme said that he planned to write-in Terry, but said afterwards that his support “depends how gay he [Terry] gets.”

Dr. Bob Greene, a physicist who also participated in the forum, commented that the glitter bombing “was inappropriate for the circumstances.” During the forum, Greene differentiated himself from his opponents by discussing the use of thorium as an alternative fuel, saying “we have enough thorium for all of our energy needs for well over a thousand years.” He elaborated further after the forum, explaining that thorium could be used by bombarding it with neutrons, after which it fissions. “The fuel”, he explained, “is a molten salt, really Thorium Fluoride with a couple of stable-izers.” Greene says that it is safer and produces less waste than conventional methods, but “the military favored the uranium cycle because you could get lots of plutonium out of it, which they wanted for bombs. Thorium – not so.”

Others that participated in the Democratic forum include writer Ed Cowan, lawyer John Haywood, activist Edward O’Donnell Jr., and lawyer John Wolfe.


Boston Tea Party presidential nomination

On December 23, the Boston Tea Party (BTP) nominated Howard Community College trustee Tiffany Briscoe of Maryland as its second presidential nominee. The BTP was formed in 2006 and “supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.” In 2008, the party nominated boxing manager Charles Jay, who appeared on three state ballots and won a total of 2,422 votes.

Briscoe’s platform calls for the legalization of drugs, a repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act, and an end to subsidies and foreign aid. Former radio host Kimberly Johnson was selected as her running mate.

Briscoe took some time to speak with Wikinews about her campaign and the BTP.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow do you plan to gain ballot access for the BTP?

Briscoe: The BTP is a fairly new political party. Yet, it has great potential. Its message of individual freedom and free markets resonates with a great majority of the American people that do not seem to be content with the current Establishment. We need to campaign massively, which we are already doing, to collect enough petition signatures and get on as many ballots as possible. I will myself contribute financially to help get the party on the ballot in such states as Colorado and Louisiana. At the end of the day, we will probably be able to appear on 14 to 15 states throughout the country, and stay as a write-in candidate in virtually all the others.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIdeologically, how are you different from Ron Paul or Gary Johnson?

Briscoe: Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are two great men that have helped the cause of liberty by working from the inside of the government. But they do not reflect the true nature of libertarianism. Paul has become a typical politician, taking pork barrel to his district to get reelected, wants to restrict immigration, and wants to plague the economy with an entire new series of tax credits and corporate loopholes for energy and health care reform. Gary Johnson, while he did veto more laws than any other governor in the 1990s, also encounters the same problem: he wants to keep Guantanamo Bay open with the so-called “enemy combatant” inside, he opposes the end of the Federal Reserve that is creating so much troubles with our economy, and even wants to establish a FairTax that would increase consumer prices in a way that will slow economic development. So while I do consider myself as an ideological ally of these two men, I don’t believe they’re doing the best they can when it comes to promoting the philosophy of freedom.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat do you hope to accomplish with this campaign, and what would constitute a success?

Briscoe: Of course, I am not running just to get my name or the party’s name out there, even though the latter is also a goal. I am running to show that there are actually some people outside of Washington that still care about the future of our country, to show that all these independent-minded folks are not alone in their daily fight against the federal government. But with 60% of the people wishing to see a third party play a more important role and with an even greater portion saying they would consider voting for a third party in 2012, we might have more chances to reach success than we may think. Of course, the ultimate success would be paving the way to the White House but at this point, I believe only taking away votes from the true “spoilers” that the Establishment represents in a way that would change the ultimate course of the election would already make us proud.



Related articles

  • “U.S. presidential candidate Gary Johnson leaves GOP to vie for the LP nom” — Wikinews, December 29, 2011
  • “South Carolina governor Nikki Haley endorses Mitt Romney for U.S. president” — Wikinews, December 17, 2011
  • “Republican hopeful Gingrich fuels controversy over Palestinian ‘invented people’ remarks” — Wikinews, December 11, 2011
  • Campaign manager: 100 percent chance Buddy Roemer will run for Americans Elect presidential nomination” — Wikinews, December 1, 2011
  • “U.S. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann narrowly edges Ron Paul in Ames Straw Poll‎” — Wikinews, August 15, 2011

Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
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