March 11th, 2012
09:18 AM ET
10 years ago

Former presidential candidates play pundit

Washington (CNN) – Former presidential candidate Republican Steve Forbes predicted Mitt Romney will "limp over the finish line" to capture the GOP presidential nomination in a fight that will not end in the next few months.

Forbes, the editor-in-chief of Forbes Media who previously backed Rick Perry for president, said in an interview broadcast Sunday that Rick Santorum's recent ascendancy in the race will contribute to the extended battle.

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"Santorum, I think, is going to have a good week and on Tuesday," Forbes said on CNN's "State of the Union" in reference to upcoming contests. "And so I don't think it's going to be a knockout blow anytime soon. So I see this going right into June."

On the same program, former Democratic House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, who also ran for president, said Romney is more likely than Santorum to present a strong message on the economy in the fall.

"To do well in the presidential campaign, they've got to have a strong economic message, and to the extent that Rick Santorum has been talking more about social issues and less emphasis on the economic issues, it may be that Romney could fulfill that role better," Gephardt told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

However, Gephardt said a lack of a dominant Republican presidential candidate makes it increasingly likely the Senate will remain in Democratic control.

Forbes and Gephardt each mounted two unsuccessful runs for their party's presidential nomination – Forbes in 1996 and 2000 and Gephardt in 1988 and 2004.

Gephardt, who represented Missouri in the House for almost three decades, said super PACs have changed the viability of presidential campaigns.

"When you ran out of money, you couldn't buy an airplane ticket to go to the next stop. So that's when people usually got out. So that's what happened to me in my races," Gephardt said. "But that may be a little changed today."

Despite the presence of super PACs, Forbes said at some point the candidates still lose credibility.

That point will come on Tuesday for Newt Gingrich, Forbes said, when voters in the southern states of Alabama and Mississippi cast ballots.

"If he doesn't do well or carry both of those, he's just not going to have the credibility. He can carry on, but he's not going to be taken seriously as a possible winner," Forbes said.

Santorum and Gingrich have received calls to drop out of the race despite capturing delegates and states early in the nominating cycle. To date, Romney has won the most delegates.

Gephardt said the decision to suspend a campaign is ultimately organic.

"When you can't make payroll, it's obvious that you need to get out, because you don't want to hurt these people and you can't really ask them to be volunteers for month after month when you can't pay payroll," Gephardt said. "So your campaign manager, you know, you're talking every day, every minute of every day and so you pretty easily come to the decision that's right.”

Also see:

Gingrich pins hopes on hashtags

Santorum blasts Gingrich over 'Romneycare'

Santorum wins Kansas caucuses; Romney touts delegate gains

Gingrich calls for Panetta resignation

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Steve Forbes • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. GI Joe.

    He;s a wealthy JERK that has made a lot of money ripping people off with his fake advice. It always adds to his bottom line.

    March 11, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. king

    These repubs have a mindframe that if you make 1 person rich at the cause of others, this will help others. Lesson that probably would have worked in the 60s and 70s, but now in the global markets with China and India is modernizing, and have 6 times more spenders than we've got, those policies are out dated. The focus must be on the American people, and building up our country by creating demand. This will attrack businesses to our shore and give Americans jobs.

    March 11, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. ST

    "To do well in the presidential campaign, they've got to have a strong economic message".
    Here is where people must think the field is really very weak. They knew from the beginning how the state of economy has been. They did not prepare themselves to come up with a concrete message. Those who have voted already deserved also to hear their concrete plans on economy. We are now witnessing a negative effect by depending on Super PACs that come up with whatever they have in their mind.

    March 11, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    Any canadate that can't even get 50% sof the republicans to vote for him has no chance in the general election. That's if any republicans even come out to vote for any of these losers.

    March 11, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  5. clarke

    The person with the most gold wins. There should be limits on all this, makes for an even playing field. Also gives the people a chance to see the real person, not the person behind the money.

    March 11, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't think that there is great GOP candidate which Gephart stated. It is just a question when they are going to get the act together and stop sounding like bunch of fighting kids.

    March 11, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    Any republican that gets their sorry nomination is going to lose in a Dem landslide, republicans don't belong in government at any level, maybe dog catcher.

    March 11, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. Charlie from the North

    I love Steve Forbes on CNN. He offers insightful opinions in an interesting way. I hope he never stops working for you folks. (translation I hope he never runs for President again that crazy, crazy SOB) Thanks CNN. Hey would you offer Romney, Sanatorium, Gingrich and Paul jobs as well? It would be a great service to our Republic.

    March 11, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |