Last night, Roemer was a replacement for GOP candidate Herman Cain who cancelled his appearance on the show. In the interview, Roemer stressed his populist stance of limiting campaign contributions to $100 or less. He said that he would not accept PAC money or contributions from special interests. The host, Stephen Colbert, seemed to support Roemer’s message and allowed the Governor to promote his campaign and even tout his website.
Since announcing for President, Roemer has appeared on a number of national radio shows and has been interviewed on a several Fox News programs. Roemer is running a truly grass roots campaign by forgoing the major contributors and consultants and focusing on old fashioned door to door politicking.
Roemer is not participating in the Iowa straw poll because he did not want to pay the $15,000 fee for inclusion. In the Colbert Report interview, Roemer rejected the support of “fat cats” but asked Iowa farmers and ordinary citizens to help his campaign by contributing.
As of June 30, Roemer has raised about $95,000, with $60,000 coming from small dollar contributors and the rest from a personal contribution and loan. In comparison, President Obama had raised $48 million by June 30th.
Roemer’s unorthodox message may catch fire in a large GOP field that does not have a major frontrunner. Although polls show former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in first place, his support is soft and not very committed. Romney leads because of his name recognition advantage and the fact that he was a candidate in 2008.
In this campaign, Roemer will try to defy the conventional wisdom and become a major player in the race, even though he has limited name recognition, almost no money and no major political endorsements.
Roemer is hoping to replicate the success of another long shot Southern governor who won the presidency. In 1976 Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was almost unknown outside of his state. Yet, he ran an effective campaign against the special interests of Washington. In the aftermath of Watergate it was the right message and Carter shocked the political world by winning the Democratic presidential nomination and eventually the White House.
Like the 1976 campaign, this race comes after a very turbulent period. While there has not been a Watergate crisis, there has been an unprecedented period of economic hardship. The horrible economy may motivate voters to try something new and give a long shot candidate like Roemer a chance.
Roemer is certainly a different kind of candidate who does not play by the conventional rules. He possesses passion, great oratorical skill and a populist message that may connect if he can reach enough voters.
Last night, Stephen Colbert gave him his biggest boost so far. It will be interesting to see what he can do with this opportunity.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].
DOES BUDDY ROEMER HAVE A CHANCE?
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