Tales from the Trail

Economy should be focus of 2012 election, GOP governors say

By Reuters Staff
February 28, 2012

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 – not social issues – would be the main concern among voters heading to the ballot box in November.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, speaking after the National Governor’s Association’s annual meeting at the White House, said the divergent fiscal beliefs between Republicans and Democrats would be decisive for voters this election season.

“This president, President Obama, believes in a larger centralized government,” Jindal said, underscoring three straight years of trillion-plus dollar deficits undertaken under the current administration. “You’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.”

Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell, a Romney supporter, stressed that while people want to know where the candidates stand on abortion and religious freedom – hot-button topics that have gained Santorum, a devout Catholic, traction among the religious right – job creation remains critical for most of the voting public. “They’re going to vote on jobs, spending, the economy, taxes, transportation,” he said, “and whether or not Johnny graduating from college is going to be able to get a good job.”

Acknowledging that primaries are “always a messy process, democracy is messy,” Jindal said he was confident Republicans would unite around their eventual nominee. “The reality is that at the end of the day, we will have a candidate that we will all get behind.”

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant agreed, saying that despite the rifts exposed in the primary fight, Republicans would eventually rally behind a single contender. “We’re going to get behind our nominee and we’re going to win this.”

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

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