Trump and others vie for GOP nomination

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DECK: Looming 2012 elections put GOP presidential candidates on edge

If Donald Trump’s hair isn’t enough to distinguish him from the rest of the 2012 GOP presidential field, his approach to campaigning certainly is.

Many news sources deemed the NBC reality show host a joke after he called himself President Barack Obama’s “worst nightmare” and spent the entire month of April requesting to see a birth certificate rather than speaking on his own political views.

Although Trump has been in the media more as of late, he’s not the only possible presidential candidate making a splash during this “exploratory period.”

With the next presidential election on Nov. 6, 2012, numerous political figures have come out as declared or potential candidates.

Obama will almost certainly be the Democratic candidate. Although he announced his campaign in April, aides to the president have said he will not truly focus on campaigning until a Republican contender emerges from next spring’s primaries.

During his first presidential run in 2008, the Obama campaign raised roughly $750 million from donors. That amount was more than any of his opponents.

When announcing his 2012 campaign, Obama said his goal was to raise more money than he did in 2008 — $1 billion, a record-breaking amount.

He also said the most important aspect of campaigning began with the people, not the media.

The GOP prospects are not as set in stone as the Democratic field.

Other than Trump, there are six major contenders who have admitted to considering runs or formed exploratory committees — Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann.

In the most recent Politico.com GOP primary poll on April 22, Trump and Huckabee lead with 16 percent each. Romney follows with 13 percent and Sarah Palin is fourth with 10 percent. Gingrich, Paul and Bachmann trail with single digits.

Hair jokes and birth certificates aside, Trump’s arguments have focused mostly on trade, China and oil dependency. He has also shown an opposition to increasing the nation’s debt limit.

“I wouldn’t raise it,” he said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “You’re going to have to make a (political) deal someplace … you might as well do it right now. I’d do it right now, I’d stop it right now.”

Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, is a strong opponent of gay marriage and gun control. In a February interview with ABC News, he said the campaign process is “grueling” and that he will announce his campaign this summer.

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, announced his exploration in April. In a campaign video, he named unemployment as one of the biggest issues facing the nation today. He also said the Obama administration’s policies have failed, and America is on a dangerous course due to Washington politicians.

Possibly one of the most controversial candidates, Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, launched an exploratory website last month.

Wednesday, Palin accused Obama of “pussy-footing” in his decision not to release a photo of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden post-death.

Questions surrounding who will run and be elected are not solely hot topics for the media, but also for some students.

Lindsay Swanson, junior in the College of Education, said she is skeptical about the potential GOP field right now, but might be surprised once actual campaigning begins.

Regarding who the final two candidates could be on election day, Curtis Taylor, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, said he thinks it will be between Obama and Romney. He also said the recent death of Osama bin Laden could place favor on the current president.

“I feel like it’s leverage that Obama can use,” Taylor said. “But I don’t think it’s a lock-up-win-it kind of thing.”

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