The GOP race to the nomination for president at times has been led by Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, and some polling predicts that Barack Obama may have a difficult time squaring off against any of them.
But former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer is a declared candidate for the GOP nomination and has yet to be invited to a Republican debate.
He wants to know why.
“I keep asking why I can’t get on stage, and the rules seem to change daily,” Roemer told WND in an interview. “First I had to reach 1 percent in polling, and when I reached that, they changed the rule to 2 percent, now they talk about needing 500,000 donations.
“They’re looking for the wrong things. They put a premium on money, but that’s not the important thing.
“They want to see flash and cash. They don’t understand that cash is the problem.”
Roemer, 68, served four terms as a Democratic congressman during the Reagan years but touts a voting record that sided mostly with the Republicans.
He was elected Louisiana governor as a Democrat, serving from 1988 to 1992.
While in office though, he realized that he aligned more with Republicans and officially switched parties.
While governor he balanced the state budget despite a large, inherited deficit, saw unemployment drop from 12 percent to less than 6 percent and overhauled campaign finance. He also successfully linked educator pay to performance, when he enacted “education accountability standards.”
Out of office since 1992, Roemer has since built a successful banking business in Louisiana that he’s proud to say has not taken “one penny in bailout money from the federal government.”
“I’m running for president because someone has to say the things that need to be said in this country,” Roemer told WND. “Barack Obama got elected on ‘change’ and yet we get more of the same, while he gets his money from Wall Street.
“His treasury secretary is from Wall Street.”
He said 500 banks have gone belly up since Obama was elected, but none was from Wall Street.
“They get bailed out with our money,” he said. “Goldman-Sachs got $300 billion, interest-free I might add, in bailout money, and then they host $35,000-a-plate fundraisers for Obama.
“Americans are fed up. They’re not stupid. They can see the direct line drawn between Washington, D.C., and Wall Street,” he said. “They can see they didn’t get the change they were promised.”
He said his campaign focuses on two primary issues: “Corruption in Washington and the giving away of American jobs overseas.”
“Washington needs a big broom, and it needs to be swept out,” he told WND. “I’m ready to sweep.”
He expanded on his qualifications: “I’ve been a congressman and a governor, and I’m the only one running who faced a dirty state and cleaned it out.
“The governor I replaced openly bragged about receiving special interest money. Well, I stepped in and said ‘Louisiana is for sale no longer.’”
Roemer identifies himself as a conservative or a traditionalist. He pledges to take no more than $100 from any single donor.
He estimates he needs to find about 5 million American’s to stand with him to defeat Barack Obama in 2012.
He also says “no” to special interest money, “no” to PACs and “no” to super-PACs, or “bundled” money.
“Americans ought to unite together and demand an end to the corruption and greed that poisons our political and financial systems; tea partiers; and occupiers; Democrats and Republicans – for this movement is an American movement and is not going away,” says his recent announcement to enter the New Hampshire primary.
When asked where he feels America went wrong, he doesn’t hesitate: “Fifteen years ago, under Bill Clinton, America gave our jobs away to China.”
“It was hidden from us for quite awhile, behind the housing boom. But that’s when the damage was done,” he told WND.
“America needs an honest explanation of what happened,” he said.. “We gave your jobs away.”
“I’ll look them (China) in the eye and say we’re not taking your products built in unfair, inhumane ways, with child labor, any more.”
He said he has no doubts Americans will understand.
“You want jobs in America? Stop unfair trade and jobs will pop up overnight. We’ll go back to seeing ‘Made in America’ again.”
Roemer told WND that no one else is saying what he’s saying.
“Why isn’t anyone else asking the questions I’m asking,” he said. “No one is asking where the money contributed to politicians is coming from, and more importantly, why it’s being paid.”
He said the largest single contributor to Washington, D.C., politics is Goldman-Sachs, followed closely behind by GE.
“Money in politics has created institutional corruption. Both parties are guilty of taking the big check and are bought by Wall Street,” he said. “My campaign is the only one that speaks out against this, and I look forward to the day lobbyists are not allowed to donate to campaigns.”
“Here’s a fact for WND readers,” Roemer emphasized. “More money was given to both McCain and Obama right in Washington, D.C., from PACs than from 32 states combined.”
The same fault is what supports the current, troubled, tax code, he said.
“Why can’t we read our tax code? Because it was written by lobbyists,” he said.
Aside from cleaning up Washington with a big broom and standing up to China on fair trade, Roemer has many other ideas to get America back on track.
“I’m 68 years old. I’m old enough to see what needs to be done, and young enough to do it,” he said.
Since he’s not been allowed into the national debates, he’s taking his message right to the people.
He has a volunteer walk along with him and “tweet” along the way.
“She’s got fast fingers, so I can keep up the tweeting,” he said.
Roemer says he’s the only candidate to actually set foot into the Occupy Wall Street camps.
“I met some real good people,” he said. “I think they should be protesting in Washington, D.C., too, though,” Roemer told WND.
While Roemer identifies with the tea party, he thinks too much criticism of the “Occupy” protesters isn’t good.
“I think we make a mistake when we don’t listen to our youth,” he said. “They’re not always right, but who is?
“There’s a spirit in those protests of ‘questioning’ and that’s a good thing,” Roemer said
While walking and talking with protesters last week, Roemer attracted the attention of Hollywood celebrity Danny DeVito. DeVito “tweeted” that people should pay attention to Roemer, “He’s definitely one to watch.”
A “tweeting” conversation ensued between the two, and while Roemer admits to WND that the two are probably very different ideologically, they find common ground in their disgust with greed having so much influence in politics.
Roemer told WND that he would tackle health care right away if elected president. While admitting that aspects of health care may need addressing, he says he would do things differently from Obamacare.
“His plan is falling apart,” he said of Obama.
He described Obamacare as unfair and too expensive.
He also said America could gain energy independence to a large degree.
“I’m a driller. I’d do it right, though,” he said. “There’s ways to drill clean, and have clean air and water at the same time.”
Washington has no need for the Department of Energy, and it would be eliminated, he said. After all, he said, when Obama was elected, gasoline was $1.85 a gallon, and see what happened since?
On the issue of Iran, he said he would “not allow a single product, from anywhere in the world that is made with Iranian oil, to come into this country.”
“While Iran is making nuclear weapons that they openly declare are for wiping out our closest ally in the Middle East – Israel, it’s crazy for us to import anything made with their oil,” he said.
He’s a traditionalist on marriage.
“I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, but I think the states should have the right to define what marriage is in their own state,” he said.
On homosexuality in the military, he said, “We’re in the 21st century now, and if our generals are telling us that they can still perform their mission while allowing gays to serve, then I’m going to listen to the generals.”
On border security, Roemer says, “We are a nation of laws. The border must be secured first and businesses that break our immigration laws should be held accountable.”
How about abortion?
“I’m pro-life, always have been,” he said. “On many issues, we can have a debate, but when it comes to a little fetus, who has no say, then we need to protect them.”
He’s looking at the long, uphill road to 1600 Pennsylvania and says he’s counting on the common sense of Americans to help.
“The last poll shows me near or above 2 percent, and on top of several other candidates like (Rick) Santorum, (Jon) Huntsman and (Gary) Johnson,” he said. “Last quarter we raised $126,000, with an average donation of $70. A four-fold increase over the prior quarter.”
Roemer said voters can find him online at buddyroemer.com.