Shut Out of Debates, Johnson and Roemer Head for the Exits

Former Governor Buddy Roemer

Two of the more interesting candidates for the Republican presidential nomination appear to be set on trajectories that will propel them outside of the GOP’s orbit within the next several weeks.

Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer is now openly telling media that after New Hampshire, he will be focusing his energy on winning the Americans Elect nomination and securing the 50-state ballot access that comes along with it. Meanwhile, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has been the subject of weeks of rumors that a bid for the Libertarian Party’s nomination is in his future.

On paper, both men should have been regarded as serious, or at least semi-serious, candidates for the GOP nod. Former governors with 12 years of executive experience between them. Both were very successful in the private sector at companies they really helped build themselves. (Newsflash: Herman Cain wasn’t the founder of Godfather’s Pizza.) And yet both were excluded from just about every major debate. Roemer was given zero opportunities to speak, while Johnson squeaked his way into just one high profile debate.

At a recent event in New Hampshire, Roemer explained his experience trying to participate in the debate process:

“I made a chronological schedule of my debate attempts the other night,” he said. “There have been 10 national debates and they are anywhere from five days to 10 days apart so fairly steady. The first three debates I was not a candidate for president. I was in the exploratory phase. I announced at Dartmouth about 12 weeks ago. I missed the first three debates because you have to be a formal candidate. I was not, I had no problem with that. I think that’s a minimal requirement.

“The next three debates, I called the debate sponsors and that was MSNBC, FOX and CNN and I was told they had agreed to certain rules and you had to have 1 percent (rating) in national polls. They actually said five national polls and I was at zero. So I didn’t like that. I said, ‘Do you know that I’m the only person running who has been a congressman and a governor?’ I said, ‘Do you know I’m the only person running who has actually created jobs in a billion dollar bank that he started with no bailout money. Do you know that I’m the only person running who has been to China 20 times on his own ticket?’ They said you can get 1 percent, get it and call us back.

“We got it, I called them back and we were now at debate five, six and seven and they said we’ve raised the rule to 2 percent,” Roemer continued. “OK, I was frustrated and when I put the phone down I cursed. I don’t do that often, but I did it then. I said to Al Hunt at Bloomberg that I’m getting a pattern. I’m getting a pattern here that whatever I do it won’t be quite good enough. He said, ‘That’s not true, Buddy. I’d love to have you, you would make this debate but we have these national rules and we have to follow them.’ Bloomberg has signed on to them. So we went out and got 2 percent. We called for the last two debates, I was told they had one new requirement: You had to raise $500,000 in the last 90 days. So I’ve gone from no standards except announcing, to 1 percent, to 2 percent, to 2 percent with a $500,000 raised. In that time period, I had raised $330,000. My average contribution was $40.45. I was damn proud of it, no one else can match it, but it wasn’t good enough. I took no PAC money, no Super PAC money. They’ve are raising a hurdle that for a candidate like me is hard to make.”

If either of these men are successful in securing the nomination of another party or entity and appearing on the November ballot in all 50 states, the partisan critics will surely complain that they’re “stealing” votes from the GOP nominee. Well, tough. The party had a chance to invite these candidates on stage and to allow them to participate in the Republican nominating process. Instead, they played games with the requirements and muscled both of them out of the race.

Don’t blame Buddy Roemer if he costs Mitt Romney a southern state or two. Blame Reince Priebus for making it impossible for Buddy to continue his campaign as a Republican.


  1. Buddy Roemer is my candidate.

    You are absolutely right! No argument is more arrogant and insulting than to be told by one of the two major parties that you are a “spoiler” or “wasting your votes” or “stealing” votes that belong to them if you vote for a 3d party!! What’s there to spoil is question #1 — our totally corrupt two-party oligarchy?? And who the heck are THEY to act as if they OWN the votes in this country?

    We weren’t even supposed to have political parties according to Founding Fathers.

    I LOVE the idea (and have signed up) of Americans Elect. But I am keeping my critical faculties and reading critiques by both right and left wing blogs that are totally opposed to Americans Elect and the way it is set up. It does have some potential flaws–but I’m willing to go along for the ride while, as I say, keeping my eyes wide open.

  2. NobodyAskedMe...But says:

    Like Aurora, I am a Buddy Roemer donor and was a strong supporter. He speaks with such passion, confidence, common sense, and humorous wit that he appears to be better than any other candidate.

    But when he decided to seek the Americans Elect nomination, something was suspiciously wrong. For a well-informed analysis of AE, go to this web page and search “Americans Elect” in the search box at the top right corner of the page. Read the articles by Mr. Cook and Mr. Lumea, and read the comments.

    AE is set up by secret big-money donors who are controlling everything behind the curtain. We do not know what their motive is, but it would be naive to think they put up $20+ million with no control over who the nominee is or what he stands for. The popular internet vote for the nominee will not be final because the rules allow the final decision to be made by the insiders of American Elect. Of course, there is no suitable protection established that the public internet vote will be legitimately counted or reported.

    For Roemer to use AE and its website to promote his candidacy and
    to spend millions to place his name on the ballot violates the essential principle of his campaign for full disclosure, transparency, and no big donations. When questioned how he could accept a nomination from an organization that operates against his values, he says that before he accepts the nomination from AE, it must come clean and disclose everything. This cannot be true. Buddy must think the public has no brains. How could he drop the GOP, align with AE, and encourage all supporters to join AE if he does not know who AE is and what it expects of him? Could anyone really believe that he would tell his supporters, “Sorry, you and I worked long and hard and you gave me the highest vote in AE but I will not accept their nomination because I just found out we are not compatible.”

    I spent considerable time researching Buddy Roemer. This is what I found.

    Most of the things he says about himself and his past are grossly exaggerated or just false. See this web page where he obtained a reputation in Louisiana as a “consummate liar.”

    As a congressman he was inept. He chaired no committees and authored no bills. His only accomplishment was that he won money at poker games. Yes, he was a convincing bluffer. See page 12 at Incredibly, when asked recently how he would open up communication in Washington as president, he answered that he “would emphasize listening and working in a bipartisan way, through poker games.”

    He was one of the worst governors in Louisiana history. He could not get along with people. He could not put together a competent staff. He lacked the political ability to pass legislation. He loves the action and the adoration he gets from campaigning, but does not know how to govern. To see Buddy’s ineffective record as governor and congressman look at this excellent history of Louisiana’s governors, pages 259-268:,+but+never+in+doubt%22+Roemer&source=bl&ots=GXt38E_jVv&sig=poXJMn9QbCUESjDIP2-foOb3YLY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=n-xjT7CXDOORiQL8n_SiDw&ved=0CGMQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=%22Often%20wrong%2C%20but%20never%20in%20doubt%22%20Roemer&f=false

    He lies about the reason he was not invited to any debate. The debates were run by the networks and they set the rules, not the Republican party. The networks announced that the candidates must have received only 1% at least on several national polls (as the debates went on, they increased the thresholds). Buddy sometimes claims he had 4% or 5% on national polls and at other times he will say 2%, but they still would not let him on. I spent hours trying to find where Buddy was even mentioned on a national poll outside of “Others.” The truth is that he never received anything close to 1% on any national poll. He did not meet the standards. If he had 1% or 2% or 4%, he would have been on all the debates.

    He claims that he did not do well in polls because he was not on any debate. Not true. In New Hampshire he received only 4 votes out of a 1000. He campaigned exclusively in NH for over 3 months, face-to-face in long personal talks to the voters all around the state. That is better than a debate. It is the most powerful “retail politics.” He spent over $100K on ads. He appeared on radio and TV interviews. His showing was a politician’s worst disgrace, at the very bottom of the pack, lower than others who were not even running.

    He often says that in 1991 he switched from Democrat to Republican because he wanted to make Louisiana a two-party state. He claims he did it for the good of the people. This is a lie. It was a two-party state and already had a Republican governor. He did it because he had such a “rocky” term as governor that he could not raise enough money or votes from the Democrats who were so disgusted with him that they were going to back Edwards “the crook.” He switched to the Republican Party because they offered him large sums of money and support of President Bush if he would run as a Republican to beat David Duke, the Nazi, who would have possibly embarrassed the Republican party nationally. But he had such a bad record as governor that he lost both to Edwards and David Duke, the Nazi Klansman. For an incumbent governor to be beaten by those two, he obviously did not have a record “to be proud of,” as he says in many interviews. Look at this article: “The White House hopeful who lost to the Klansman”

    He lies when he claims he built a “billion dollar bank.” Sometimes he says $750 million. Sometimes he says “almost a billion.” Sometimes he says “billion.” He says whatever pops into his head that sounds good. It is $650 million in total assets and its ratio of “troubled assets” is above the national median in banks:

    Buddy’s alignment with Americans Elect now shows that his $100 limit is only a hypocritical trick to grab attention and pretend he is more “free to lead” and more honest than the others. He said that is how he ran successfully his entire career. False. In 1988 he reported $5,000 checks, and the book about the history of Louisiana’s governors cited above describes his 1995 campaign for re-election as governor as “lavishly financed.” It would be a reasonable supposition that the big-money donors behind AE will not nominate him unless they know that he will do their bidding. It appears that those hidden big-money donors are not satisfied to influence the President. They want to select him. So in the final analysis, Roemer is just selling himself out for the big money, big check donors. He sure fooled me.

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