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January 19, 2012

Rick Perry withdraws from U.S. presidential race, endorses Gingrich

Rick Perry withdraws from U.S. presidential race, endorses Gingrich

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rick Perry at the Republican Leadership Conference, August 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Governor of Texas Rick Perry ended his campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States today. He endorsed former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich. Perry announced his decision at a press conference in Charleston, South Carolina: “I have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path forward for me in the 2012 campaign. I know when it’s time to make a strategic retreat.”

In his endorsement of Gingrich, Perry said the campaign has “never been about the candidates” but about defeating incumbent President Barack Obama. Perry called Gingrich a “conservative visionary who can transform our country.” Gingrich’s campaign, which may benefit from Perry’s decision to withdraw and his endorsement, has been gaining momentum in the South Carolina primary race, to be held on Saturday.

Speaking about Gingrich’s marital history, Perry said that “Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?” Perry went on to cite his Christian faith and belief in redemption in deciding to throw his support behind the former House Speaker.

According to Ray Sullivan, a campaign spokesman, Perry made his decision to end his bid for the presidency yesterday afternoon. He discussed his decision with campaign staffers shortly after arriving in Charleston yesterday evening and called Gingrich earlier today.

Sullivan alluded to a potential second bid for the presidency in 2016 for Perry if President Obama were to win a second term this November. According to the spokesman, Perry may be “doing this again in four years, if the president wins. Republican voters tend to like the experienced candidates that they’ve seen for a long time. So I would not rule it out.”

Perry entered the presidential race last August, quickly rising to the top of many polls. His popularity, however, declined after the debate season began. The Texas Governor finished fifth in the Iowa caucuses and sixth in the New Hampshire primary. Perry skipped campaigning for the latter in an attempt to get an extra boost in South Carolina. However, polls have placed him in single digits in the state.

Polls conducted earlier this week have placed Newt Gingrich behind Mitt Romney in South Carolina, with 24 percent to Romney’s 34 percent. Romney held a lead of approximately 20 percentage points in the state two weeks ago.



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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

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
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December 24, 2011

Gingrich, Perry fail to qualify for Virginia Republican presidential primary ballot

Gingrich, Perry fail to qualify for Virginia Republican presidential primary ballot

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Republican candidates for President of the United States Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry have failed to qualify to be on the ballot for the Virginia primary election, scheduled for March 6, Super Tuesday.

Newt Gingrich.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Gingrich, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and Perry, Governor of Texas, did not submit the 10,000 signatures, with at least 400 from each of the state’s eleven congressional districts, to the state’s board of elections before the 5:00 PM deadline last Thursday required to gain ballot access, according to the Republican Party of Virginia.

Gingrich’s and Perry’s campaigns both claimed to have more signatures than needed, 11,050 and 11,911 respectively. Volunteers spent last night reviewing the submitted petitions and validating signatures. Reportedly Rick Perry is considering an appeal of the assessment.

Among other major candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney and Texas congressman Ron Paul submitted the required petition and qualified for the ballot. On Thursday, it was disclosed that candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum also failed to gain ballot access.

According to the manager of the Gingrich campaign, Michael Krull, the former House Speaker plans to compete in the Virginia primary, despite not gaining ballot access, as a write-in candidate. Krull blamed a “failed system” for the campaign’s inability to gain ballot access. Rick Perry’s campaign manager said he was disappointed by that campaign’s failure to qualify for the ballot. According to a recent poll of 489 Republican voters by Quinnipiac University, Gingrich leads in the state with 30% of support, followed by Mitt Romney at 25% and Ron Paul at 9%.

As Virginia’s delegates to the Republican National Convention are not awarded on a winner-take-all basis, candidates other than the winner of the state’s primary could also gain delegates from the state.



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December 2, 2011

On the campaign trail, November 2011

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

On the campaign trail, November 2011

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Friday, December 2, 2011

The following is the first in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It will feature 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 Party for Socialism and Liberation nominates an underaged presidential ticket; a college football coach announces that he is running for president; and a candidate excluded from the GOP debates answers whether or not he would run under a third party label.

Summary

Herman Cain rejects claims of sexual harassment at a press conference, November 8.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

In November 2011, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich surpassed businessman Herman Cain in opinion polls as frontrunner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. Cain’s campaign was troubled with allegations of sexual harassment and a romantic affair. The previous frontrunner, Texas governor Rick Perry, had a “brain freeze” during a debate while trying to name the last of the three federal agencies he would abolish.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who has consistently polled high, led several sources to conclude that he would inevitably win the GOP nomination and match up against incumbent President Barack Obama of the Democratic Party. However, if nominated, Romney might not be the only challenger currently vying for the GOP nomination. There was speculation that two candidates excluded from November’s GOP debates, former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, would run for the presidential nominations of other political parties to challenge Obama and the GOP candidate.

Party for Socialism and Liberation nominates underaged ticket

PSL presidential nominee Peta Lindsay
Image: PLSweb.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) nominated 27-year-old activist Peta Lindsay for president and 26-year-old immigrant Yari Osorio for vice president in November. Because of their ages, both are constitutionally ineligible to serve if elected.

The PSL, which was founded in 2006 after a split from the Workers World Party, is the second socialist party to name its ticket. In October, the Socialist Party USA nominated 2008 vice presidential candidate Stewart Alexander for president and selected lawn care business owner Alejandro Mendoza as his running mate.

Lindsay is now challenging Alexander for the Peace and Freedom Party‘s presidential nomination, according to that party’s State Executive Committee members Kevin Akin and Bob Evans. Whoever receives this nomination will be guaranteed ballot access in California. In 2008, the PSL achieved ballot access in twelve states with nominee Gloria La Riva. La Riva also sought the Peace and Freedom Party nomination but lost to independent candidate Ralph Nader.

Ballot access may be difficult for the Lindsay-Osorio ticket since many states only allow constitutionally eligible candidates to appear on the ballot. In the past, parties that nominated constitutionally ineligible candidates were forced to name placeholders for such states.

Despite this, the ticket promises to “get into the [presidential] debates.”

Football coach running for president

Former Savannah State University football coach Robby Wells announced November 21 that he is running for president as an independent candidate. The announcement occurred during a press conference just hours after the settlement of his wrongful termination suit against Savannah State. Wells alleged he had been fired in January 2010 for recruiting too many white players in the largely black school. The school argued that he was fired for mishandling records and not following directions. As coach, his record was 7–15.

Political science professor Robert Eisinger of Savannah College of Art and Design said “nobody knows” Wells and “his chances [as a candidate] are slim to none. As in zilch, nada.”

Wikinews caught up with Wells via e-mail to find out why he decided to run, how he was different from other candidates, and whether he felt candidates with low name recognition are “delusional”.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat compelled you (personally) to run for president?

Coach Wells: I am running for president for the people of this great country. There are over 40 million people living at or below the poverty level in the United States. We have 14 million Americans that are unemployed and over 25 million people that are underemployed. The American Dream has been replaced with an economic nightmare for many Americans, and we need to make a real change. I believe that it is time for America to think outside the box. I have served my country in the Army National Guard, and I have been a public servant, serving as a teacher and football coach. My platform is called the Gameplan, and you can view it on my campaign web site at www.electrobbywells.com.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow are you different from any of the other 286 people [now 291] that filed with the FEC to run for president?

Coach Wells: “I can not speak for the other 286 people that filed with the FEC to run for the office of President of the United States, but there is a lot of difference between myself and the top Republican candidates and President Obama. Unlike the top candidates that are worth millions of dollars, I am a representation of the vast majority of people in America. I know what it feels like to be unemployed, and I know how it feels to struggle to provide for my family. If elected, I will be concerned more with doing my job than keeping my job. I will be more concerned about the American citizens having jobs, and creating new jobs for the unemployed.”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat is your response to people who think that non-politicians with low name recognition that run for president are delusional?

Coach Wells: “America is facing some major challenges, and serious people must be willing to take a stand for the country they love. I have been a college football coach for 15 years, and most recently the Head Football Coach at Savannah State University. Savannah State is an NCAA Division – I school. I believe that my name is currently recognized in the southeastern part of the nation, and we hope to spread that recognition across the country. I love to compete, and I love winning. I was called delusional when I took the head football coaching position at Savannah State because I was the first white head football coach at the black college (HBCU), but I was the most successful coach at Savannah State in the past decade. I am very serious about my plan for the country, and I understand that I am a long shot. In order for my campaign to win, the people of this great nation must join our team, and send Washington a message. The message is very simple. ‘We are the people of the United States of America, and our only option is to succeed as a nation.'”

Will another GOP candidate consider a third party nomination?

Fred Karger campaigns in Iowa.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

After GOP candidates Buddy Roemer and Gary Johnson were excluded from all the presidential debates in November, Johnson is now considering a run for the Libertarian Party nomination and Roemer has already decided to pursue the nomination of Americans Elect. That leaves behind Fred Karger, another GOP candidate who received some notice in presidential polls and was excluded from debates.

In August, Karger, who holds the distinction as the first openly-gay person to seek the nomination of a major political party, objected after being excluded from a debate, maintaining he met its polling requirements. However, now he says “It’s a problem of numbers. They figure Eight is Enough.” Unlike Johnson, who feels the GOP could have used their influence to include him, Karger sees it more as a network issue. He confirmed to Wikinews that he will not seek a third party nomination or run as an independent in 2012. He will remain in the GOP.

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November 1, 2011

State Senator Stewart Greenleaf enters New Hampshire primary

State Senator Stewart Greenleaf enters New Hampshire primary

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

State Senator Stewart Greenleaf
Image: Pennsylvania Senate Republican Caucus.

State Senator Stewart Greenleaf of Pennsylvania registered on Friday to appear on the ballot for the U.S. Republican Party‘s New Hampshire primary. He released a statement yesterday explaining that his goal was not to win the presidency, but “to enter ideas into the great debate that is the 2012 Presidential Election.”

Greenleaf, 72, has represented the 12th district in the Pennsylvania Senate since 1979. His district includes parts of Bucks County and Montgomery County, populated with approximately 240,000 people. He serves as the chairman of the Judicial Committee and as Vice-chairman of the Intergovernmental Operations Committee. Two weeks ago, he helped pass legislation to reform state prisons.

Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll remarked that “Stewart [Greenleaf] is a very smart guy…with a good reputation in Harrisburg.” However, he added that Greenleaf is “certainly not even on the radar of anyone for the presidency and is clearly not going to be the nominee.”

As a presidential candidate, Greenleaf lists two primary objectives for the nation: balance the federal budget by reducing debt; and improve competitiveness in the global economy through “tariff tweaking”, protection of intellectual property, relaxation of regulation, and prevention of the employment of illegal immigrants.

Greenleaf is one of 44 candidates that will appear on the New Hampshire primary ballot. He filed in person on the deadline along with fellow candidates: former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and Texas governor Rick Perry. The filing fee was $1,000.



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September 23, 2011

Congressman Thad McCotter ends bid for U.S. president

Congressman Thad McCotter ends bid for U.S. president

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Friday, September 23, 2011

McCotter plays guitar at his presidential announcement in July.
Image: Emily Bell.

McCotter speaking at the Ames Straw Poll in August.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Congressman Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan notified the The Detroit News yesterday that he would end his long-shot campaign for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. He threw his support behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

McCotter, who has represented Michigan’s 11th congressional district since 2003, had announced his candidacy in early July. He reportedly paid $18,000 for campaign space at the Ames Straw Poll in August, but garnered only 35 votes and finished in last place at the event.

His campaign was unable to gain traction among the GOP base. He was excluded from all GOP presidential debates, a fact he emphasized when arguing that his campaign’s fate “was sort of death by media.” Elaborating this point, he remarked “if they keep you out of the debates, you are out of the conversation and you can’t run.”

McCotter decided to back Romney for president, believing he is the “most electable” GOP candidate because of his business background. Though he feels the current frontrunner, Texas governor Rick Perry, “may be a vice presidential nominee”, he thinks the nation is not ready for another Texas governor to be president in the aftermath of the George W. Bush presidency.

Bill Ballenger of Inside Michigan Politics applauded McCotter’s decision, remarking “He really had no business running for president. If he wants to have any political future, endorsing Mitt Romney now is the smart thing to do.”

His neighbor, former Michigan attorney general Mike Cox, commented “He tried it out, obviously it wasn’t working. And he’s doing the rational thing and dropping out.”

McCotter now plans to refocus his efforts on his re-election campaign for Congress. He is expected to face a primary challenge from State Senator Mike Kowall.



Related news

  • “U.S. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann narrowly edges Ron Paul in Ames Straw Poll” — Wikinews, August 15, 2011
  • “Congressman Thad McCotter to run for U.S. President” — Wikinews, July 2, 2011

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August 15, 2011

U.S. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann narrowly edges Ron Paul in Ames Straw Poll

U.S. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann narrowly edges Ron Paul in Ames Straw Poll

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Presidential candidates at the Ames Straw Poll. From left: Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Thaddeus McCotter, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann
Image: IowaPolitics.com.

Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota narrowly defeated fellow Representative Ron Paul of Texas to win the nonbinding Ames Straw Poll on Saturday. The poll, held every four years in Ames, Iowa is used as a gauge of Republican candidate viability several months ahead of the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses. This year, nine candidates were listed on the ballot.

Bachmann, the first woman to ever win the poll, waged a high visibility campaign that benefited from persistent media coverage to win 4,823 of the 16,892 votes cast. Following the victory, she remarked to her supporters that “You have just sent a message that Barack Obama will be a one-term president.”

Paul, who tripled his support from the 2007 poll with 4,671 votes, took advantage of an enthusiastic grassroots following. His campaign manager commented that the result proves he “is moving into the first tier” of candidates.

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, whose traditional ground-campaign approach did not work as effectively as expected, came in a disappointing third place with 2,293 votes. Politico felt the showing “may spell the end of his campaign”, but Pawlenty argued that the campaign is “just beginning.” He later withdrew from the race.

The fourth place finish of former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania was seen as a “moral victory” for the candidate since he did not receive as much media coverage as the others, and did not spend as much cash. He vowed to remain in the race, stating “We have a caucus strategy, not a straw poll strategy…I don’t think there is any question that what we did here today shows that we are building a base of support in Iowa.”

Surprisingly, Texas governor Rick Perry, who entered the race on the same day as the poll, was not on the ballot but was still able to garner 718 write-in votes. That put him ahead of the Republican frontrunner, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who was on the ballot but did not actively pursue the victory. He won the 2007 poll, but came in second to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in the Iowa caucuses.

Representative Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, who paid $18,000 for campaign space, came in last place with 35 votes.

Results table

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann with her husband

Ron Paul

Ron Paul

Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty with his family

Rick Santorum with his family

Rick Santorum with his family

Herman Cain

Herman Cain

Thaddeus McCotter

Candidate Votes Percentage
Michele Bachmann 4,823 28.55%
Ron Paul 4,671 27.65%
Tim Pawlenty 2,293 13.57%
Rick Santorum 1,657 9.81%
Herman Cain 1,456 8.62%
Rick Perry (write-in) 718 3.62%
Mitt Romney 567 3.36%
Newt Gingrich 385 2.28%
Jon Huntsman, Jr. 69 0.41%
Thaddeus McCotter 35 0.21%



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August 14, 2011

Texas governor Rick Perry enters presidential race

Texas governor Rick Perry enters presidential race

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Perry in 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Texas Governor Rick Perry officially announced Saturday that he is running for President of the United States as a Republican. In a speech before the RedState convention in South Carolina, Perry said “It is time to get America working again. That’s why with the support of my family and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today my candidacy for president of the United States.”

The announcement, which coincides with the nonbinding Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, follows months of media speculation and reports from earlier in the week that Perry planned to enter the race Saturday. Other candidates include former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, businessman Herman Cain of Georgia and Representative Ron Paul of Texas. Early polls place Perry in second place, just behind Romney, who analysts consider a “weak” frontrunner for the nomination.

Perry, 61, has served as Governor of Texas since late 2000 when former President George W. Bush stepped down following his election as president. Two years later, Perry was elected governor in his own right, and was re-elected twice in 2006, and in 2010 following a primary battle with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. He has never lost a political election.

Perry is expected to run as an outsider to Washington politics, though, he is likely to be compared to former President George W. Bush, who served as governor of Texas before becoming president. However, in recent years, Perry has been increasingly critical of the spending policies under Bush, and relations between their aides have been strained.

Nonetheless, Perry has reserved most of his political criticism for President Barack Obama. In allusion to Obama, Perry commented Saturday that “Page one of any economic plan to get American working is to give a pink slip to the current residents in the White House.”

As president, Perry states that he would reverse Obamacare, simplify the tax system, and cut government spending.



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August 11, 2011

Texas governor Rick Perry to announce his presidential intentions

Texas governor Rick Perry to announce his presidential intentions

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Governor Rick Perry in June 2011
Image: Gage Skidmore.

According to aides, longtime Texas Governor Rick Perry will announce his intentions to run for President of United States this Saturday in South Carolina after a tour of three early Republican primary and caucus states. His announcement will follow Saturday’s nonbinding Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, for which he is not on the ballot.

Perry has served as Governor of Texas since late 2000 when former President George W. Bush stepped down from the office after his victory in the 2000 presidential election. Perry won election as governor in his own right in 2002 and was re-elected in 2006. After a primary challenge from U.S. Senator and fellow Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, Perry was elected to an unprecedented third term in 2010. His executive experience and record of job-creation has been hailed by supporters, though he has been criticized for his cuts to education and 2009 suggestion that Texas could lawfully secede from the Union.

Speculation about a potential run heightened after Perry organized and attended a Christian prayer gathering in Houston last week, which was seen as outreach to the religious right. Perry has support from members of the populist Tea Party movement, and is known for his call for states’ rights, which he outlined in his 2010 book Fed Up. His position on states’ rights has caused concerns for some social conservatives such as presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who criticized Perry after his comments that the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York was “their business, and that’s fine with me”. Perry later clarified that he was referring to “state sovereignty” and that he personally opposes same-sex marriage.

Perry will join a growing list of Republican candidates for the presidency that includes former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, businessman Herman Cain of Georgia and fellow Texan Republican Rep. Ron Paul.

Romney, the current frontrunner for the nomination seems vulnerable to political analysts. Commentator John Fund described him as “weak” and Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report found that while Romney is favored by the party establishment, Perry will likely find more support among the party base, “In terms of ideology, style, priorities and geographical appeal, Perry and Romney are very different candidates, and they appeal to very different constituents.”

Blogger Erick Erickson of RedState, who will headline the website’s gathering where Perry is expected to make his announcement, commented “the race is shaping up as who can beat Barack Obama and who is the best alternative to Mitt Romney. And none of the candidates so far has been able to consolidate those two goals like I think Perry will try to do.”



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November 5, 2009

Thirteen dead, several wounded in Fort Hood, Texas shooting

Thirteen dead, several wounded in Fort Hood, Texas shooting

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

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Major Nidal Hasan has been identified as the gunman in the shooting

The United States Army has confirmed that thirteen people have been killed after a shooting rampage at the Fort Hood army base in Texas. An additional thirty are reported wounded, and the gunman is in stable condition after being shot by military police. Two other soldiers are in detention.

The incident took place at a deployment readiness center. According to local congressman John Carter, shooting broke out shortly before a graduation ceremony.

The gunman has been identified as an army officer, Major Malik Nadal Hasan. He is a mental health professional, presumably either a psychologist or psychiatrist, according to an unnamed defense official. Two other suspects were in custody, the base commander, Lieutenant-General Bob Cone, said. “Our investigation is ongoing, but preliminary reports indicate that there was a single shooter,” Cone said at a news conference. “The shooter is not dead, but in custody in stable condition.”

Initial reports said that the gunman had been shot to death by military police; however, General Cone now says that the man is in custody and is in the hospital with injuries, but is in stable condition. FOX40 News in Sacramento managed to record a military spokesperson commenting on why the media wasn’t informed about the status of the gunman until four hours after the initial announcement was made that he had been fatally shot. That military spokesman replied, “the doctors didn’t know who they were working on.”

When asked at the conference whether Hasan’s attack might have been a terrorist act, General Cone replied that “I couldn’t rule that out, but I’m telling you that right now the evidence does not suggest that.”

It is not currently clear if those killed and wounded are civilian or military. The gunman is reported to have been in uniform and using handguns. Eyewitnesses claim at least one man was armed with a high-power sniper rifle. The chief of media at the base, Christopher Hogue, said to reporters that “the only one we know who was shooting was killed and he had two handguns.”

There may have been other people involved in the shooting, however. “We […] have apprehended two additional soldiers that are suspects. There were eyewitness accounts that there may have been more than one shooter,” General Cone said.

Cquote1.svg Effective immediately Fort Hood is closed. This is not a Drill. It is an Emergency Situation.” Cquote2.svg

—Fort Hood official website

The Killeen Independent School District said that all schools in the area were placed on lockdown. The base was closed down following the incident as well. “Effective immediately Fort Hood is closed,” a statement on the Fort Hood website read. “This is not a Drill. It is an Emergency Situation.” The website appears to have gone down shortly after the announcement.

A serviceman at the base described his experiences to the BBC. “I heard the emergency announcement over the speakers outside and saw people rushing to get indoors. In our office we’re okay but we’re hearing about the deaths. […] We are still on lockdown. I am hearing that at least nine people may be dead.”

Greg Schannep, a retired colonel, was heading to the 2 P.M. graduation ceremony when he heard gunshots and saw an injured soldier run past him. “Initially, I thought it was a training exercise,” he recounted, as quoted by the New York Daily News. “A soldier came running past me and said ‘sir, there is someone shooting.’ As he ran past me I saw blood on his back. I don’t think he even knew he had been shot.”

Location of Fort Hood within Texas

“It’s chaotic,” said the director of a local coffee shop near the base, as quoted by the Associated Press. “They’re just saying that they’re under attack they don’t know what’s going on. […] The phones are jammed. Everybody is calling family members and friends. Soldiers are running around with M-16s.”

The authorities are still gathering information about the shooting, according to Homeland Security spokeswoman Sara Kuban. “DoD [Department of Defense], DHS [Department of Homeland Security], FBI and other members of the intelligence community are assessing and gathering facts about the shooting. Because this is early in this event, we cannot at this time confirm motives behind these shootings,” she said.

The Scott & White Memorial Hospital in the town of Temple received ten of the injured victims from the attack. Its website has posted an appeal for blood donations. “Due to the recent events on Fort Hood, we are in URGENT need of ALL blood types,” it said. The hospital received 200 blood donations since 2:45 P.M. local time.

The hospital was soon closed to visitors after the wounded people were received. “[We are] no longer open to visitors as we focus our attention upon the victims and their families,” a statement on the website said. The associate system chief medical officer said that they did not have specific information on their conditions. “We get patients like this, but not usually all at once,” said director Glen Couchman.

Another health facility, the Metroplex Adventist Hospital, received seven other victims. The hospital stated that one of them was soon pronounced dead, and two others, including an EMS paramedic, are in surgery.

Fort Hood is situated in the town of Killeen. It is the largest military base in the world, houses around 40,000 US troops, and is about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Austin. It has been compared to a small town, with its own schools, convenience stores, and even two museums.

This is not the first time Killen has witnessed a shooting spree. The town was the site of the worst shooting spree in American history until the Virginia Tech massacre, when on October 16, 1991, George Jo Hennard drove his truck through the front window of Luby’s Cafeteria and proceeded to shoot and kill 23 people and wound another 20, before commiting suicide in what is know as the Luby’s massacre. It should be noted Major Hasan is an alumnus of Virginia Tech.

Gunman’s motives and background

Hasan’s motives for the shooting spree were not immediately clear, however, Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison told the FOX news agency that “I do know that he has been known to have told people that he was upset about going [to Iraq].”

Cquote1.svg [Going to Iraq] was probably his worst nightmare Cquote2.svg

—Gunman’s cousin

A cousin of the gunman, Nader Hasan, told FOX that his cousin had been ordered to deploy to Iraq, but was unwilling to do so. “We’ve known over the last five years that was probably his worst nightmare,” he said.

According to Nader, Nidal is a US-born Muslim who had joined the military after finishing high school, and was a graduate of Virginia Tech, where he received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. He was also a member of the ROTC, and used to be a psychiatrist at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

“He was a psychiatrist at Walter Reed dealing with the people coming back and […] trying to help them with their trauma,” Nader said.

Retired colonel Terry Lee told FOX that “[Hasan] said maybe Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor. At first we thought he meant help the armed forces, but apparently that wasn’t the case. Other times he would make comments we shouldn’t be in the war in the first place.”

Security officials said that some Internet postings made half a year ago, discussing suicide bombings and other forms of violence, appeared to have been posted by Hasan, but this has not been officially confirmed.

“Isolated incident”

Some army bases around the US increased security measures following the attacks. “The bottom line for us is that we are increasing security at our gates because the threat hasn’t yet been defined, and we’re reminding our Marines to be vigilant in their areas of responsibility,” said the public affairs officer for the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona, Captain Rob Dolan.

Cquote1.svg We don’t have reason to believe that this is anything other than an isolated incident Cquote2.svg

—Army spokesman

However, a spokesman for the Department of Defense said that the attack appeared to be an isolated incident. “This is an isolated and tragic case and we’re obviously in the process of obtaining more information as the events unfold,” said Lieutenant Colonel Eric Butterbaugh.

“We don’t have reason to believe that this is anything other than an isolated incident,” an army spokesman from Fort Lewis in the state of Washington, Joe Piek, commented. “We don’t normally discuss security operations at the post anyways, but I am sure this is something that our security law enforcement will be reviewing. As we are watching and listening, there is a lot we don’t know.”

Response

Cquote1.svg …a horrific outburst of violence Cquote2.svg

—Barack Obama

President Barack Obama described the incident as “a horrific outburst of violence” in a press conference in Washington D.C., going on to say, “It is difficult enough when we lose these brave men and women abroad, but it is horrifying that they should come under fire at an army base on US soil. […] We will make sure that we get answers to every single question about this horrible incident. We are going to stay on this.”

Texas Senator Hutchison released a statement regarding the incident. “I am shocked and saddened by today’s outburst of violence at Fort Hood that has cost seven of our brave service members their lives and has gravely injured others. My heart goes out to their loved ones,” she said.

“Our dedicated military personnel have sacrificed so much in service to our country, and it sickens me that the men and women of Fort Hood have been subjected to this senseless, random violence. I know all Americans share this concern for the soldiers and their families who are affected by this tragedy,” the statement continued.

Robert Gates, the Defense Secretary, expressed his sympathy to those affected by the attack. “I can pledge that the Department of Defense will do everything in its power to help the Fort Hood community get through these difficult times,” he said in a statement.

Vice President Joe Biden also offered his condolences. “We are all praying for those who were wounded and hoping for their full and speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the entire Fort Hood community as they deal with this senseless tragedy,” he remarked.

“I was saddened to learn of the tragic incident at Fort Hood. Laura and I are keeping the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” wrote former president George W. Bush in a statement from his office in Dallas.

The state’s governor, Rick Perry, ordered all flags in Texas to be flown at half-staff until Sunday. “[I am] keeping those affected by today’s incidents in our thoughts and prayers,” he said.

The junior senator from Texas, John Cornyn, also issued a statement. “My heart goes out to the victims of the tragedy that occurred today at Fort Hood, as well as their families. Fort Hood is one of our nation’s finest and largest military installations, and a place that has long been a source of pride for Texans, and for all Americans who value the selfless service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform,” the statement read.

“It is imperative that we take the time to gather all the facts, as it would be irresponsible to be the source of rumors or inaccurate information regarding such a horrific event. Once we have ascertained all the facts, working with our military leaders and law enforcement officials on the ground, we can determine what exactly happened at Fort Hood today and how to prevent something like this from ever happening again.”



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