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Special Report

12 2012 Governor Chris Christie and the Dark Horses

Tonight on “Special Report with Bret Baier,” the 12th edition of the final “Twelve in 2012” series.

Special Report will have profiled a dozen potential Republican presidential contenders. Now, look for a documentary special that lays out the state of the 2012 race inside the GOP.

Tonight’s profile is on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, but Bret will also look at some dark horses in the potential field.

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Chris Christie

Age: 48

Current Position: Governor of New Jersey (elected in 2009)

Previous experience: U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey (2002 to 2008); lawyer in private practice (1984 to 2001); Morris County, N.J. Board of Freeholders (1994 to 1998)

Education: Undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware (1984); law degree from Seton Hall University (1987)

Family: Wife, Mary Pat, two sons, two daughters

What you might not know:

Christie brought charges against more than 130 public officials and never lost a corruption case during his tenure as a federal prosecutor.

His Pitch: Tough Times, Tough Guy

Chris Christie seemed an unlikely choice to knock off incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine. Christie is overweight, pugnacious and worst of all for New Jersey, a Republican who had served in the Bush administration.

Not only did Christie win, but he went on to become a holy terror to the teachers unions and other government labor groups that had come to dominate the state in years of Democratic control. His arguments in town halls are the stuff of YouYube legend. Christie has the perfect confrontational, fed-up style for a time that FOX News Contributor Charles Krauthammer has dubbed the year of “Don’t touch my junk.”

His budget busting, tax cutting ways in a deep blue state have been an inspiration to Republican governors and gubernatorial candidates across the country. The argument is that if he can do it in Jersey, it can be done anywhere.

The Knocks: Social Situation

Christie is a Catholic and “personally pro-life,” but made it clear in his candidacy that he was not interested in rolling back New Jersey’s permissive abortion laws. It helped him win the liberal state’s governorship, but it would complicate any national ambitions in a party adamantly opposed to elective abortion.

Christie also took a beating in his gubernatorial run for loans he had made to associates and even his propensity for getting speeding tickets. He could expect the same and worse if he launched a national campaign.

Power Play’s Odds on Nomination: 20 to 1

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Rick Perry

Age: 60

Current Position: Governor of Texas (took office in 2000, elected 2002, 2006, 2010), Chairman-Elect of the Republican Governors Association

Previous experience: Lieutenant Governor of Texas (1998 to 2000); Texas agriculture commissioner (1990 to 1998); state representative (1985 to 1990); family farmer (1977 to 1985); U.S. Air Force (1972 to 1977)

Education: Undergraduate degree from Texas A&M (1972)

Family: Wife, Anita, one son, one daughter

What you might not know:

Perry is the first Texas A&M Aggie to be governor of the Lone Star state. He was animal science major and a “yell leader” for football games.

His Pitch: Everything is Bigger in Texas

Texas will have more delegates in the 2012 Republican National Convention than any state. Just like other Republicans learned in 2000, Texas draws a lot of water in the GOP.

Plus, Perry earned a lot of credibility in the conservative movement for his frank talk during the 2009 Tea Parties about secession being a possible result of continued Washington overreach. His battles with the Obama administration over environmental and immigration policies have only strengthened his reputation with the GOP base. Perry also has appeal as a party switcher. He started his career as a Democrat and came to the GOP in 1990. That might hurt a less conservative candidate, but it would likely appeal to the Tea Party set.

The Knocks: Same Old Same Old

Perry and his predecessor George W. Bush are very different guys with very different styles and are even said to have a thorny relationship, but they look a bit alike, sound a lot alike and come from the same state. If there is residual Bush fatigue in the Republican Party, it would hurt Perry.

His other problem is that he doesn’t have any career highlight outside of his political career. Republicans tend to dislike “career politicians.”

Power Play’s Odds on Nomination: 10 to 1

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Bob McDonnell

Age: 56

Current Position: Governor of Virginia (elected 2009)

Previous experience: Virginia Attorney General (2006 to 2009); Virginia House of Delegates (1991 to 2005); state prosecutor (1989 to 1991); Business Manager, American Hospital Supply Corporation (1981 to 1986); U.S. Army Reserve, (1981-1997); U.S. Army (1976-1981)

Education: Undergraduate degree from Notre Dame (1976), MBA from Boston University (1980), law degree from Regent University (1989)

Family: Wife, Maureen, three daughters, two sons

What you might not know:

While in law school, McDonnell had an internship with Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and the House Republican Policy Committee. It was then that he decided to pursue politics as a career.

His Pitch: Mild-Mannered Conservative

McDonnell is a big social conservative, having even attended Pat Robertson’s Regent University Law School. But even when the Washington Post hammered McDonnell day after day during his 2009 run for governor over 20-year-old writings about homosexuality and working moms, McDonnell didn’t lose his cool. He even managed to win socially liberal Fairfax County.

While McDonnell said he had moderated his positions since his days as a law student, he stuck to his guns on his family values record as attorney general. Social conservatives would appreciate his constancy and moderates would appreciate his tolerant approach.

Known for his businesslike manner and knack for bipartisan cooperation, McDonnell might be considered a good role model for Republicans operating in purple states.

The Knocks: Too Soon

Virginia’s one-term limit for governors has prevented The Mother of Presidents from birthing any in modern times. Lame ducks from the day they are sworn in, Virginia governors often make appealing candidates, but don’t have time to first govern successfully and then turn to building a national organization.

When the veepstakes begins, watch McDonnell closely.

Power Play’s Odds on Nomination: 20 to 1

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Rick Santorum

Age: 52

Current Position: Attorney, Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, FOX News Contributor

Previous experience: Senator from Pennsylvania (1995 to 2007), Congressman from Pennsylvania’s 18th District (1991 to 1995)

Education: Undergraduate degree from Penn State University (1980); M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh (1981); law degree from the Dickinson School of Law (1986)

Family: Wife, Karen, four sons, three daughters

What you might not know:

Santorum and six other Republicans formed the “Gang of Seven.” That group ferreted out the House Bank scandal (where dozens of lawmakers overdrew their accounts) and the House Post Office scandal. The latter eventually led to jail time for former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski.

His Pitch: Mass Appeal

Catholics are an increasingly important of the GOP coalition, and Santorum has great appeal for the conservative Catholics who are increasingly migrating to the party. He is a staunch social conservative and a passionate defender of his faith.

Moreover, Santorum can point to a strong record as reformer in Congress, where he helped bring about the reforms of the Republican Revolution.

The Knocks: Gone Too Long

Santorum’s 18-point 2006 defeat by Democrat Bob Casey was a damaging blow to what had once been one of the rising stars of the GOP. It was a bad year for Republicans, but Santorum’s take-no-prisoners style had made him a polarizing an unpopular figure in his home state.

Now out of office for nearly four years, it would be very hard for Santorum to muster the money and organization needed to get a presidential campaign off the ground.

Power Play’s Odds on Nomination: 30 to 1

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John Bolton

Age: 61

Current Position: Author, Speaker, American Enterprise Institute Fellow, FOX News Contributor

Previous experience: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (2005 to 2006); Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security (2001 to 2005); Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (1989 to 1993); Assistant Attorney General (1985 to 1989); U.S. Agency for International Development (1981 to 1983)

Education: Undergraduate degree from Yale University (1970), law degree from Yale University (1974)

Family: Wife, Gretchen, one daughter

What you might not know:

Read more: http://specialreport.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/11/19/12-in-2012-governor-chris-christie-and-the-dark-horses/#ixzz1Ed3qsyeg