Economy should be focus of 2012 election, GOP governors say
By Samson Reiny
As the battle for the Republican presidential nomination rages on between front-runner Mitt Romney and a resurgent Rick Santorum, governors from their party today said that economic recovery â€“ not social issues â€“ would be the main concern among voters heading to the ballot box in November.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, speaking after the National Governorâ€™s Associationâ€™s annual meeting at the White House, said the divergent fiscal beliefs between Republicans and Democrats would be decisive for voters this election season.
â€śThis president, President Obama, believes in a larger centralized government,â€ť Jindal said, underscoring three straight years of trillion-plus dollar deficits undertaken under the current administration. â€śYouâ€™re going to contrast that with the Republican philosophy of limited government, of lower spending, of balancing our budgets, of growing the private sector economy.â€ť
Virginiaâ€™s Governor Bob McDonnell, a Romney supporter, stressed that while people want to know where the candidates stand on abortion and religious freedom â€“ hot-button topics that have gained Santorum, a devout Catholic, traction among the religious right â€“ job creation remains critical for most of the voting public. “Theyâ€™re going to vote on jobs, spending, the economy, taxes, transportation,â€ť he said, â€śand whether or not Johnny graduating from college is going to be able to get a good job.â€ť
Acknowledging that primaries are â€śalways a messy process, democracy is messy,â€ť Jindal said he was confident Republicans would unite around their eventual nominee. â€śThe reality is that at the end of the day, we will have a candidate that we will all get behind.â€ť
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant agreed, saying that despite the rifts exposed in the primary fight, Republicans would eventually rally behind a single contender. â€śWeâ€™re going to get behind our nominee and weâ€™re going to win this.â€ť
Photo credit: Governor Nikki Haley and Governor Bobby Jindal are seated together at the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, February 27, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque