Former Louisiana governor to launch 2012 exploratory committee
March 2nd, 2011
05:08 PM ET
12 years ago

Former Louisiana governor to launch 2012 exploratory committee

Washington (CNN) - Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer told CNN Wednesday that he will announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee tomorrow afternoon in Baton Rouge.

"I will tell the public here and across America that I am concerned about the problems in America and the opportunities that aren't being taken advantage of," Roemer said in a phone interview from his new campaign office in Baton Rouge.

"I don't think there is a chosen nominee from the Republican Party," he added. "I don't think there is somebody who is secretly decided to be the candidate. This will be a rigorous debate. It will extend from Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina to around America."

The announcement comes just days before Roemer is slated to participate in a presidential forum sponsored by the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition in Iowa, which will host the first contest of the Republican nomination fight early next year. He will join three other potential candidates at Monday's event in Des Moines: former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former pizza magnate Herman Cain.

Roemer will also make his announcement at roughly the same time Thursday afternoon that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is expected to announce in Atlanta that he will enter his own presidential exploratory phase.

A former Democrat, Roemer served seven years in Congress before winning an underdog bid for the Louisiana governorship in 1987, when he toppled legendary former Gov. Edwin Edwards in a nonpartisan "jungle primary."

Roemer switched parties to become a Republican in 1991 and lost his subsequent re-election bid. After leaving office, Roemer founded Business First Bank in Baton Rouge but re-emerged on the political scene in 2008 as a surrogate for Sen. John McCain's presidential bid.

After conferring with his family and business associates, Roemer said he talked to the Arizona senator before deciding to explore what many GOP insiders are sure to dismiss as a whimsical White House bid.

"I told him that I was interested for the first time in my life in becoming the Republican nominee for president and having a classy debate with President Obama about the size of government and the role of government and the role of the United States in this small and dangerous world," Roemer said.

Roemer listed off a series of issues that motivated him to join the presidential fray, including the mounting national debt, a burdensome tax code and the need for fiscal restraint.

But he said the influence of special interest money in politics would be the driving factor behind his exploratory effort. Roemer said he plans to refuse money from political action committees and will cap individual campaign contributions at $100.

"It is my opinion that the money has washed over Washington like a tsunami," he said. "The leaders are not free to do what needs to be done. They are addicted to special interest money, to bundled money, to Wall Street money, to banks too-big-to-fail money."

Though Roemer will be in Iowa on Monday, he said that campaigning in the Hawkeye State is an expensive proposition and suggested that the primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina would be friendlier terrain - the former because of its intimate political culture and the latter because of his southern roots.

Roemer said he has currently no paid staffers but is taking advice from a small group of friends and volunteers, including Mark McKinnon, the former media adviser for George W. Bush who assisted Roemer during his 1987 gubernatorial bid.

Filed under: 2012 • Buddy Roemer
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Indy

    The Republican strategy is to put up every clown they can to make their leader Palin look good, but sorry it is not going to fool anyone into thinking that she will ever be qualified enough to hold any kind of public office let alone POTUS. Just more proof that Republicans have no respect for the highest job in the land and think that running the country is a joke an anyone can do it.

    March 2, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  2. Not a racist

    Just because someone is a Repub. they are all racists?

    March 2, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  3. willie floyd

    They could roll all these into 1 and you still wouldn't have anything-certainly not one that could unseat the president.

    March 2, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. Mary225

    I am sick to my stomach...Rep. Mark Hatfield from Georgia just introduced a Birther Bill in the Georgia State Legislative session. After the Civil War here and their history of slavery, then the Jom Crow laws and the Civil Rights movement, do you think these Conservative Southerners have learned anything yet? They tried their hardest to discredit MLK, then when he was assasinated, they called him a homegrown hero. And last week Rep. Paul Broun (R-Athens) was at a town hall meeting when a person asked "Who is going to shoot Obama?" Rep. Broun called the Secret Service the next day, but laughed when the guy said it. NO MORE REPUBLICANS, PLEASE! I Can't take them anymore!!!!!!

    March 2, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  5. DAVE

    well! republicans are doing what they do best! they seem to be in campaign mode non stop all the time! do they really think that anyone cares about the next election? the only reason is to raise vast amounts of money to campaign with. the american voter is the reason because they tend to vote for the person they see the most and the longest. it takes lots of money to stay in the sight of the american people and these guys know that voters are bought and paided for with money. and tv net works love it because they make tons of money by stiring the crap storm for profit only.

    March 2, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. they call me "tater salad"

    They all say the same thing.............NEXT!!!

    March 2, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. Daniel

    Another joke of a candidacy...

    March 2, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. Seattle Sue

    It seems like every Republican/Tea Party person and their dog will be running for President. The dog would be more trustworthy.

    March 2, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  9. w l jones

    If I could beat Mr. Obama in a presidental race a book deal mean mutil-million dollars, to high water for the American people. I got mine get yours best way you can. Bless.

    March 2, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  10. Bill from GA

    I have just figured it out: THIS is the repugs secret jobs plan. Get a dozen or so "candidates" running for prez, Big Business gets off its huge stash of money, throws a little of it at each of them, and the money gets circulated around the country. Sheer Genius!!
    (Alright, I recycled this from an earlier one. Still true/)

    March 2, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. Pretzel Logic

    So what's the title of the book he's trying to promote? He's utterly unelectable. Seems the best way to peddle your tome is to launch a Presidential campaign and have gullible supporters pay for the cost of the signing tour.

    March 2, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
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