The upcoming presidential election is in high gear, and much of the nation is intently watching which Republican candidate will ultimately be the one to challenge President Obama in 2012. The candidates’ recent GOP debates and various personal controversies have generated much media attention and buzz. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Jack Barlow, professor of politics at Juniata. I had a conversation with him about the current Republican presidential candidates, and he gives some interesting insight into the viability of the candidates:
Have you been following the recent GOP debates? Which Republican candidate came out on top? Who came out of the debates for the worse?
Not one candidate in particular has come out the winner. However, I believe that Perry has really suffered from the debates as a result of his inability to remember his own points. Romney has been performing relatively consistently, and Gingrich’s numbers really rose in the polls after the recent debates. Huntsman has been under the radar but has made some really interesting debate points.
Who is the most viable Republican candidate as of now to run against President Obama next year?
President Obama’s own people believe that Mitt Romney is the biggest threat to his re-election, and I would have to agree with them. Romney has been and still is the favored Republican candidate.
What will the Republican candidate who runs against President Obama have to possess or prove in order to make it to the White House?
He or she will have to prove that they are a better economic manager with more effective economic policies. This includes his or her specific plan for the creation of more jobs and how to bring the federal deficit down. The economy has really been tough these last few years for many Americans, so I feel that the economy is the number one issue in this upcoming election.
How do you explain Michele Bachmann’s early rise and subsequent fall in the polls?
Bachmann has faded from the running for a multitude of reasons. She has had trouble raising enough money, her inner campaign staff has had much turmoil and changeover, and her campaign organization is not big enough.
If Romney were to become the official Republican candidate as expected, who do you think he would choose to run as his vice-president?
Though Huntsman and Romney share similarities in the sense that they’re both more moderate and are Mormon, the two men actually strongly dislike one another. Therefore, I see Romney possibly choosing Bachmann as his running mate in order to give him more credibility with the Republican base.