Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Politics

South Carolina Voters Look for Varying Views from GOP Candidates

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is chiding other White House wannabes to stop stalling and get off the sidelines and join the race to defeat President Obama in 2012.

Pawlenty along with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, businessman Herman Cain, and Texas Congressman Ron Paul all plan to attend the first 2012 GOP presidential debate in Greenville, S.C. Thursday night.

Paul, a Tea Party favorite who ran in 2008 renewed his years old call Wednesday for the US to get out of Iraq & Afghanistan.

"Al Qaeda was never in Iraq and we were supposedly in Afghanistan to get Usama bin Laden," Paul said. "With bin Laden gone, there's no reason for our presence in this region."

Most Republicans disagree with Paul, whose libertarian strain of republicanism is often at odds with many in the GOP. South Carolina Republicans have a long history of demanding a comprehensive conservatism from candidates.

"You need to find a balance of social conservatism and fiscal conservatism," said Scott Huffmon, a political Science professor at Winthrop University. "If you're a one note Republican, you're just not going to do as well in South Carolina."

Several potential candidates are staying on the sidelines for the debate and Palmetto State powerbrokers don't appreciate being taken for granted.

"There's an arrogance that's abounding right now with some of these candidates," said South Carolina GOP Chair Karen Floyd.

Among potential candidates not attending Thursday's debate, a recent Quinnipiac poll of nationwide voters shows 58 percent would never vote for Sarah Palin nor Donald Trump, 42 percent say they will never vote for Newt Gingrich, 32 percent won't vote for Mike Huckabee, and 26 percent will never vote for Mitt Romney.

Half of South Carolina GOP voters are self described evangelical Christians. A recent poll by Winthrop University says 78 percent of South Carolina Republicans and GOP -leaning independents believe President Obama is a socialist and 25 percent believe he's a Muslim.

But South Carolina's conservative governor, the first woman ever elected to the office, says it require more than celebrity and flashy campaign ads to win hearts and minds here and mere Obama bashing won't cut it

"They need to be talking about our military & what's happening internationally, they need to be talking about energy independence and what we're going to be doing about the gas prices," Haley said.

Fox News producer Wes Barrett contributed to this report.

Carl Cameron currently serves as Fox News Channel's (FNC) Washington-based chief political correspondent. He joined FNC in 1996 as a correspondent.