Former Louisiana governor to launch 2012 exploratory committee
March 2nd, 2011
05:08 PM ET
11 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. Ruddie

    Golly, they're comin' out of the woodwork...

    March 2, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. James, Brooklyn

    Talk, Talk and more Talk. Once the lobbyist start writing checks he will be another lying cheating politician.

    March 2, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. PalmReader

    "Roemer said he plans to refuse money from political action committees and will cap individual campaign contributions at $100."

    Cool. Another panhandling GOPer who thinks he should be President.

    March 2, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. Debbie from Arizona

    Let's see – Romney, Huckabee, Gingrich, Palin, Santorum, Pawlenty, Daniels, Cain, Trump, Barbour and now Roemer, although I've probably left out someone. The Republican Primary should be hilarious. Can't wait for the fun to begin.

    March 2, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. lynn

    And they have the answers to the U.S. problems. Elect them and all our worries will go away. All they see is the $$$$ signs for their book publishing and FOX contracts.

    March 2, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston

    Just put the Republicans on the RIDICULIST.

    March 2, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. greyhackles

    Republican National Committee: "Forget the car, we're going to need a Clown Bus!"

    March 2, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. Karma6338

    Who are these people?

    March 2, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    Send in the clowns (music plays in the background) don't bother they are still coming out of their hole in the ground.

    March 2, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. Bill

    The growing GOP possibles list is a veritable rogue's gallery of buffoons, malcontents, reprobates. half-governors and idelogical clowns. And this is the best the GOP can do? This is too rich.

    March 2, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. dane

    Really, it's 2011 and no one is on the campaign trail. That's interesting? Everyone is still
    "forming exploratory committees". seems to me they burned through all the taxpayer
    money and it's getting tough to find some these days. They won't touch theirs now will

    March 2, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. Marge

    I will tell the people across this great country of ours that there isn't a republican going that would ever do anything for the people in this country. All they want to do is stick their head up corporation butt. Thinking maybe they could get their money and help them screw the country the way Bush did.

    March 2, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. Randy, San Francisco

    No wonder Palin is one of the upper tier GOP presidential candidates. The GOP is bereft of any credible candidate with national stature or name recognition.

    March 2, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  14. malcolm in St Louis

    Buddy who?

    March 2, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. detada

    I lived in Louisiana during the Roemer administration. His camapaign will never get off the ground.

    March 2, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. Brandon

    You forget Ron Paul, who is also likely to run, and will also be at the forum next Monday.

    How is the CPAC Straw Poll winner being forgotten, or is it intentional subversion?

    March 2, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    Will the GOP primary candidates be clowncarpooling to the convention? I feel like these buffoons each need an aid to follow them around with a small PA speaker and a laugh track.

    March 2, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. russ

    Blah, blah, blah, The Republican herd of canididates just keeps getting funnier and funnier. This is going to be a great Presidential nomination cycle! Watching these guys debate will be a hoot. Providing they dare debate the issues, since most of them are totally in the dark.

    March 2, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  19. majikbunny

    In what other country can you make a career as a professional liar?

    March 2, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  20. Trevor

    NEWS FLASH.. my Grandma is thinking about starting an exploratory committee (she's been dead for 40 years). However, she would be a better bet than the plethora of Republican blowhards testing the water. God, I'm sick of this already and its only March 2011.

    March 2, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. Gautam

    Who are all these people???

    March 2, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. Monster Zero

    A chocolate coated turd will be able to take it over Obama and the Dem's come 2012, this guy's policies are killing America, look around. The only potential one's that are going to vote for him are the government employee's and even they won't once their checks begin to bounce...makahya ding ding!


    March 2, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  23. ENOUGH!

    Watch the documentary, War Made Easy. We are tired of being lied to and robbed. We trusted people that didn't deserve our trust for WAY TOO LONG!

    March 2, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    The GOP race is filling up with those who are candidates only in their own mind, like Gringrich and now Roemer.

    March 2, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  25. Beverly - NYC

    No PAC $, individual donation cap of $100, no paid staff. Oh yeah serious candidate here, probably read the Christine
    O'Donnell manual, How to get suckers to pay your bills, while running for an office you have no chance of winning.

    March 2, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
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