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Pence urged to enter presidential race in 2012

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An independent campaign to draw GOP Rep. Mike Pence into the 2012 presidential race is under way, with a veteran of the Reagan White House launching a petition drive on Monday urging him to enter the primary contests.

Ralph Benko, a deputy counsel to Ronald Reagan, announced the America's President Committee to encourage a Pence-for-president bid. Former Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kan., is also helping the campaign to collect signatures from conservatives and tea party activists.

"Mike Pence extraordinarily exemplifies the optimistic, pro-growth, pro-job creation Reagan-Kemp wing of the GOP. Grass-roots conservatives, Republicans, the tea party and populists are looking for a man or woman of principle who can champion and unite the newly energized and engaged citizenry," Benko said. "Mike Pence is the best choice to lead us into a new era of peace and prosperity."

Jack Kemp, who died in 2009, was a Republican congressman and vice presidential candidate. He was perhaps best known as an economic conservative who advocated low taxes and lowering barriers to supplying goods and services.

Pence, of Indiana, stepped down from his post in the House Republican leadership. He has considered a White House run or perhaps a campaign for governor. One of his party's strongest advocates for conservative policies, Pence is among the GOP's most outspoken critics of President Barack Obama.

Should Pence enter the contest, he would face an uphill climb. Few Americans have heard of him and better known potential Republican candidates — like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, or former Alaska governor Sarah Palin — already have organized fundraising operations.

But with more than a year before the first caucuses in Iowa, advocates for Pence — like other possible candidates — insist there is time for any of a dozen or so would-be candidates to assemble a team. That is one reason many will be speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference next month in Washington.

Pence has been invited to speak. Others potential 2012 candidates who accepted invitations: Romney, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

It is not unusual for a state to have more than one prospective candidate two years before the election, but observers have said it's remarkable that Pence and Daniels represent a microcosm of the national Republican Party and its philosophical wings. Daniels' focus is fiscal issues, while Pence is identified more with social issues.

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  • Costly mistake
    Pence for President campaign would be a very costly mistake in dollars & IN representation. If he wishes to get out of Washington DC, I'd rather see him run for Gov. A Daniels-Pence ticket is a waste of money & could NEVER win.
  • What a Joke!
    It makes me cringe to think this guy will be representing Indiana. An extreme partisan with a lot of talk and nothing to back it up. I'm sure the tea partiers will love him with all his mindless talk.
  • yuk
    YUK, GO AWAY PENCE, get a real job!
  • IN can make a difference!
    Agree with both Tom and Joe, BUT, DEFINITELY believe such a combination of ability and values is a ticket worth supporting! What a winning ticket to lead the GOP forward and bring REAL change in our government! Too, we need to get the 'rest on their laurels' crowd like Sen. Lunar OUT! He has proven, to my disappointment since I used to campaign for him, to be way off base with his votes on important issues. If I believed in the democrate's philosophy, I would vote democratic! Check Sen. Lugar's record and all representatives for that matter. Let's go M&M!!!
  • Slate?
    Daniels / Pence or Pence / Daniels? While probably unlikely, such a slate - especially Daniels/Pence, because Our Man Mitch has the executive experience Mike lacks; not just as Governor, but the time spent as a Presidential Staffer in DC. OTOH, I can see the pundits having a field day with it - "Candy Presidential Slate"... (M&M). Of course, there are comebacks for that, as well...
  • Come on....
    I am all for a fresh start in the White House, but Pence has no executive experience.

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