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GOP Presidential Hopefuls Want New GOP Majority to Focus on Economy

January 4, 2011 - 6:00pm

As the Republicans took over the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday, prominent politicians looking to be the GOPs standard bearer in 2012 weighed in on what the new majority should focus on -- and not surprisingly, pointed toward the nations sluggish economy.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who appears ready to launch a second bid at the Republican presidential nomination, stressed Wednesday that the new Republican majority in the U.S. House needs to focus on the economy.

We face many challenges, but in no area is leadership more important than in addressing the economy and the need for new jobs, noted Romney. Lets face it: Washington has become a job-killing beast. It is slowly but surely smothering the very pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit that made America the freest, strongest nation on earth. Fortunately, we took the first step in slaying that job-killing beast by electing a Republican majority to the United States House of Representatives last November. But reclaiming majority control of the House is just the first step. We have a lot of work to do to change Washington and get our economy back on track.

Romney, who put years in at a management consultant firm before running for office, was not the only potential 2012 Republican hopeful calling for the new majority to make putting Americans back to work their top priority.

The No. 1 focus of House Republicans must be developing and implementing the right policies that will help entrepreneurs and small businesses create jobs and paychecks, wrote former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Wednesday in an e-mail sent out to supporters. A booming economy will help balance the budget. It is also the best social policy we can have for American families. As President Ronald Reagan used to remind us, the best social program is a job because it allows the individual to take care of their family with dignity and independence. Many other activities and programs may make us feel good, but none are as important as creating the right policies for job creation.

Other potential Republican candidates have called for the new Republican majority in the House to take aim at a related matter -- federal spending.

This is a crucial time in American politics, as we look to a newly elected Congress in 2011 to stop the insanity of federal spending, said former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson last week Republicans in Congress must be vigilant as never before when it comes to the nations pocketbook -- we need to get our spending under control.From putting an end to the exorbitant costs of the war in Afghanistan, to ensuring that the Bush tax cuts become permanent for all Americans, now is the time to make the difficult financial decisions to put our country back on track. I truly believe that our national debt is currently our greatest threat to national security.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas noted there are many issues to focus on.

The year 2011 brings in a host of opportunities and challenges to America, Paul noted on Tuesday. Will we accelerate toward economic insolvency by continuing the policies that have created this crisis, or will a new Congress elected on the energy of the tea party movement find the courage to change course?

Paul, who ran for president in 1988 and 2008 and is mulling over making another run in 2012, stressed the importance of his new assignment heading up the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy.

With the new Republican majority in the House, I will have the opportunity as a subcommittee chairman to take a careful look at our domestic monetary policy, continued Paul. I am excited by the prospect of real oversight of the Federal Reserve, but I also hope to focus on the important ways in which our foreign policy and monetary policy are related. Just last week, the Financial Times reported that the limited oversight of the Federal Reserve allowed by the passage of a watered-down version of my audit of the Fed bill revealed that approximately 55 percent of the loans made available under the largest Federal Reserve bailout program, the Term Auction Facility, went to foreign banks! This is but one example of the real cost to Americans of maintaining its empire overseas, and it cries out for more transparency and oversight.

This is why it is key for us to understand that our foreign policy and current economic crisis go hand in hand, added Paul. Some have promised to lead us back to fiscal responsibility while asserting that any reduction in our foreign and military spending is off the table. They would like us to believe that we should not only continue spending as much on the military as the rest of the world combined, but they actually call for an even more aggressive U.S. policy abroad.

Paul added that Congress needs to change the search policies used by the Transportation Security Administration and repeal the PATRIOT Act.

Fred Karger, a veteran political consultant who has helped Republican candidates for more than three decades, is considering running for his partys nomination. Speaking to Sunshine State News on Wednesday, Karger said that he was in a meeting when John Boehner received the gavel from Nancy Pelosi.

All eyes were on the TV when the gavel was passed, said Karger. It was a dramatic moment.

Karger said he hoped the harmony that was shown when the Republicans took over the House from the Democrats would continue.

I hope that civility will continue, said Karger. Thats what the American people are craving right now.

Karger added that Congress needed to focus on economic issues.

The economy and jobs first, he said. We need to create jobs in this country and then we can do so many things.

Other possible candidates for nomination include former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, Gov. Mitch Daniels and U.S. Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, former Gov. George Pataki of New York, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and businessman Herman Cain.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at (850) 727-0859.

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