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GOP candidates December 11, 2011

As the first votes of the primary season approach, the BBC looks at the Republican candidates hoping to stand against President Barack Obama in November.

Continue reading the main story

  • Michele Bachmann

  • Herman Cain
    Campaign suspended

  • Newt Gingrich

  • Jon Huntsman

  • Ron Paul

  • Rick Perry

  • Mitt Romney

  • Rick Santorum

Michele Bachmann

The Minnesota congresswoman is an outspoken favourite of the Tea Party who rose to prominence with her strident cable television attacks on President Barack Obama and the Democrats.

Ms Bachmann built her campaign from a small core of staunch supporters and briefly led in the polls in the early caucus state of Iowa before falling into the second tier of candidates.

A devout evangelical Christian, Ms Bachmann has a law degree and worked as a tax attorney. Before her election to the House in 2006, she was a state senator in Minnesota.

On the campaign trail, she refers frequently to her five children and the 23 young women she took into her home as a foster mother.

See a full profile of Michele Bachmann.

Story of the polls

Select a candidate on the left to see poll figures.

Select a poll from the row above to see how figures vary.

On the issues

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Obama plays the populist card

December 10, 2011

by legitgov


Obama plays the populist card By Jerry White 08 Dec 2011 In what was billed by the White House as a major speech on the economy, President Barack Obama on Tuesday combined a potted review of American history with half-truths and lies in an attempt to present himself as a fighter for social equality and critic of Wall Street. Obama, who has spent nearly three years in the White House single-mindedly defending the interests of the financial elite, has in recent weeks adopted this populist persona with the aim of derailing the emergence of social protest, in the form of the Occupy Wall Street protests, and seeking to channel it behind his reelection campaign.

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White House asks Supreme Court to block suit of man arrested for criticizing Cheney

December 11, 2011

by legitgov


White House asks Supreme Court to block suit of man arrested for criticizing Cheney By John Burton 10 Dec 2011 Last Monday, at the Obama administration’s request, the Supreme Court accepted review of a lower court decision which allowed an opponent of the Iraq war, Steven Howards, to sue agents of the United States Secret Service for arresting him after a brief verbal confrontation with then-Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney. As with many other cases this term, the Obama administration is lining up with law enforcement and seeking a Supreme Court ruling that curtails or eliminates suits to enforce democratic rights. Reichle v. Howards will be argued next March or April and then decided before the current Supreme Court terms ends in late June.

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Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich set for showdown in crucial GOP debate December 10, 2011

After seeing his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination self-destruct one by one, tonight’s debate in Iowa offers Mitt Romney his best opportunity to arrest Newt Gingrich‘s sudden surge in popularity.

As poll after poll in recent days has shown that Gingrich has replaced Romney as undisputed frontrunner for the Republican nomination, Romney’s campaign has been forced onto the offensive – a policy that Romney will have to continue in tonight’s debate in Des Moines.

Romney previewed the tactics he is likely to use against the former Speaker of the House on Friday, poking fun at a series of Gingrich’s more fanciful ideas, including a permanent moon base and paying children from improverished families to clean school bathrooms.

Meanwhile, prominent Romney supporters lashed out at Gingrich in harsher terms, calling him unstable and untrustworthy, and a brutal new ad attacking Gingrich as a flipflopper who would lose in the general election to Obama has been released by a political action committee that backs Romney through a site called

Gingrich was quick to reply in kind on Friday with a stinging claim that Romney’s 1994 Senate bid saw him campaign “to the left of Ted Kennedy,” thus tying Romney to the Massachusetts liberal icon.

For months Romney has remained above the fray, generally avoiding interviews and using his debate appearances to focus on Obama. In the dozen previous debates Romney and Gingrich have circled each other wearily, but Gingrich’s slender poll ratings earlier in the contest meant Romney wasted little energy in attacking him.

Those long stretches of front-runner status, as challenges from Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Perry and Herman Cain all came and went, now seem like wasted opportunity for Romney, as his solid if underwhelming polling position in the key early primary states has been eroded by Gingrich.

Gingrich’s rise has been on the back of his pugnacious debate performances, in which the media as well as the Obama administration has been his target.

But Romney has shown himself to be a tenacious, disciplined debater – and his clipped manner could see him match Gingrich’s sniping. Earlier debates saw Romney prepared to trade verbal blows with Texas governor Rick Perry – and with Perry folding under the glare of the debate spotlight.

Aside from Romney versus Gingrich, the other five candidates on stage will be lining up to take a swing at the front-runners in an effort to boost their own chances with a little more than three weeks remaining until the Iowa caucuses.

Reports from Iowa and strong recent polling suggest that Ron Paul, a libertarian-leaning veteran candidates, could cause an upset by winning the caucuses thanks to a groundswell of support and a vibrant campaign in the Hawkeye state.

Paul’s threat could see him attract more hostility from his rivals on stage, who are likely to take aim at his opposition to US military involvement abroad.

Tonight’s debate starts at 9pm ET from Drake University in Des Moines, jointly hosted by ABC News, the Des Moines Register and Yahoo. The Guardian will be live-blogging the debate with contributions from correspondents in Washington DC and Des Moines.

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Rod Blagojevich, former Illinois governor, sentenced to 14 years on corruption charges December 8, 2011

December 7, 2011

by legitgov


Rod Blagojevich, former Illinois governor, sentenced to 14 years on corruption charges 07 Dec 2011 Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor found guilty of trying to trade President Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat for campaign cash or personal favors, was sentenced to 14 years in prison. U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel in Chicago today imposed the punishment on the twice-elected Democrat, concluding a two- day hearing and capping a case that began three years ago and featured two separate trials. Blagojevich was ordered to report to prison Feb. 16.

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