A conservative forum in Iowa has highlighted the stylistic — and perhaps strategical — differences between five Republican Presidential nomination wannabes. These approaches also give a clue into the kind of image they’ll likely be projecting during the campaign and better help guage whether they’d have a chance in the 2012 Presidential election when they need to appeal to a wider constituency:
Stylistic differences in the developing 2012 Republican presidential campaign began to appear during a conference of conservatives in Des Moines on Saturday that included five potential candidates.
The five possible prospects who spoke at the conference sponsored by Iowa Rep. Steve King focused primarily on their uniform opposition to President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and his policy initiatives.
No surprise there.
But Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain said in their speeches that Republicans must focus both on social values and economic issues during the 2012 campaign.
So look for these three to continue to above all throw red meat to the party’s base in the hopes that happy party base members in primary states will vote for them. This would complicate their prospects in the election, unless the economy remained in the tank.
Meanwhile, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour spent his 20 minutes focused solely on fiscal conservatism and the economy, never mentioning cultural issues dear to many in the Republican caucus base.
“When we talk about these policies, I urge you to remember the most important things, cutting spending is the means to the end,” Barbour said, echoing a speech he gave in Davenport earlier this month. “The end is to grow our economy to continue to create a number of jobs.”
Barbour, who has made several statements recently indicating he’s trying to cozy up to the Tea Party movement, signals here that the economy will be his big issue. Or, at least, if he was the candidate he wouldn’t let social issues or wedge issues drown out his main message on the economy.
The fifth possible candidate, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, focused on foreign policy.
Bolton doesn’t have a chance due to the facial hair curse.