June 3, 2011. Manchester, NH. CNN announced the line-up today for the first major debate of Republican Presidential candidates for the 2012 GOP nomination. The list contained seven people, some not even candidates for the office yet. Immediately, there was outcry from many of the large names appearing to be left out. While the Iowa caucus is technically first on the calendar, New Hampshire has the proud distinction of hosting the nation’s first primary.
While no less than four debate invitees have a cable TV show, not all candidates running for the Republican Presidential nomination are as lucky. Some were counting on the primary election’s campaign season, and the debates, to introduce themselves a little more to New Hampshire voters. That won’t be the case however according to NH debate sponsors CNN, WMUR and the NH Union Leader.
“This morning, we learned along with the rest of the world that CNN and the other debate sponsors have decided to exclude Governor Johnson from sharing your voice in the debate” said a statement from the Gary Johnson for President campaign, “Apparently, the powers that be in the mainstream media do not want America to hear from the man who has been called ‘the most dangerous politician in America’.”
Johnson, who was Governor of New Mexico for nearly a decade from 1994-2003, is considered a member of the libertarian wing of the GOP. The former Governor believes the US is too dependent on China, he supports civil unions and an end to the Patriot Act, cutting military spending, reigning in the Federal Reserve, decriminalizing medical marijuana and withdrawing American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. While he would redeploy the troops to protect America’s borders, he’s in favor of a more regulated, but open-door immigration policy. While those positions aren’t out of line for the GOP’s Constitutional and compassionate wing, they don’t go over well with the billionaire elite wing.
The seven confirmed candidates who will appear on CNN and participate in the June 13th NH debate are Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Bachmann and Santorum haven’t even announced their candidacies yet. Another big name not on the list is former Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Palin was extended an invitation but said her attendance was doubtful. Also receiving invitations to take part in the debate were Mitch Daniels, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John Huntsman and Donald Trump, all of whom declined.
When questioned about their criteria for extending debate invitations, CNN said a candidate must be able to satisfy one of the following three criteria; poll at least two percent in three national polls during the month of April, poll at least two percent in three national polls during the month of May or poll at least two percent in the recent New Hampshire University survey.
Commenting on CNN’s polling criteria, the Johnson campaign said, “In the latest Gallup poll, released one week ago, Governor Johnson’s level of support registered at three percent nationally. This is competitive with candidates like Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum, both of whom have been invited to participate. In fact, I’m not aware of a poll in which Mr. Santorum has outpolled Governor Johnson nationally.”
At least Governor Johnson was included in some of those polls. It’s hard to poll at least two percent when your name’s not even included on the list of choices. That’s the case for Tom Miller and Vern Wuensche. Both men are credible and officially-declared candidates.
Miller’s a 46 year old single father and 23-year career flight attendant who’s campaign cry is, “It’s time to return to the day of electing a common man for President of the United States of America”. Miller counters his lack of political experience by saying that 3,000 people make up ‘the White House staff’ and what’s missing is someone who understands the will of the people.Miller's another representative of the Constitutional wing of the GOP. His most memorable idea is for solving America's debt crisis - divide the national debt into 30 yearly payments, like a mortgage.
Vern Wuensche is the son of a carpenter who founded Houston’s third oldest construction company. He’s also a second-time candidate having run for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008, finishing a distant but respectable tenth in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Wuensche is a fiscal conservative who supports a balanced budget amendment, second amendment rights and a stronger border patrol using the US military if necessary. He's also a supporter of 'Fair Trade' over 'Free Trade'.
While Johnson was at least included in the NHU survey, so was fellow challenger Fred Karger. Karger was the first candidate to officially launch a 2012 Presidential campaign, as well as being the first openly gay candidate for US President in history. The 61 year old life-long Republican has a large following and plenty of grassroots support.Karger is a fiscal conservative with an emphasis on jobs and education. He also supports the legalization, regulations and taxation of marijuana.
In a recent Whiteout Press poll, Karger finished with 16 percent, second only to Ron Paul’s 66 percent.
In that poll, Johnson finished third with 5 percent and Miller, Wuensche and Cain all tied for fourth with 2 percent each. Following with one percent each were Gingrich, Pawlenty, Romney, Santorum, Bachmann, Huntsman and Palin. The poll was a non-scientific survey taken by readers of Whiteout Press. Whiteout Press is an independent media outlet and may shed some valuable insight on the trends and support levels of voters who consider themselves independent. Whiteout Press just launched a new Republican Presidential primary poll. You can vote here – no registration required.