Politics

Potential 2012 candidates convene in Richmond at Tea Party event

RICHMOND, Va. –

2:25 p.m. Lou Dobbs announced to reporters he plans to push the Tea Party movement to challenge the left on intellectual issues instead of just defending against attacks from the left. Also, Dobbs, an avid advocate against illegal immigration, discounted accusation by The Nation that he hired illegal immigrants at one of his companies or to work at his house by calling The Nation a left-leaning publication with an agenda.

Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) told reporters the Tea Party movement is an intellectual movement in addition to a political awakening. He wouldn’t confirm a 2012 candidacy for president, but said he is considering all options. Also, in regards to cutting spending, Paul said that, if elected president, he would make it a priority to bring troops home from all locations around the globe.

Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) said, though he foresees President Barack Obama vetoing it, he hopes the next Congress, which he expects to be largely Republican and conservative, to pass anti-Obamacare legislation. King said he then will push the Congress to cut funding for Obama’s Health Care Reform. King said the next Congress’s top priority needs to be repealing Obamacare. King added that, in regard to the “appealing” aspects of Obamacare, such as requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, that Obamacare has to be repealed entirely first. Then, he said, Congress can pass “one-piece-at-a-time” bits of legislation to improve the system, ensuring any new legislation is properly vetted by the Congress and by the people.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum said the new political action committee he started in Iowa is a way for him to explore all options in 2012 talks, including a possible presidential candidacy of his own, something he said he has considered but hasn’t fully vetted yet. Santorum said that, though he hasn’t read it entirely yet, he supports House Minority Leader John Boehner’s Pledge to America, something that’s been a hot topic amongst conservatives in the Tea Party.

10:07 a.m. Though he won’t confirm or deny candidacy, Herman Cain will admit he’s mulling 2012 candidacy and hinted at it again in his speech Saturday morning at a Tea Party Convention in Richmond, Va.

After recounting his story of having survived cancer, Cain said sometimes God keeps people around for a reason they don’t know at the time.

“I might do something crazy,” Cain told the crowd of Tea Partiers in Richmond. “I might just run for president.”

9:03 a.m. Ex-CNN commentator Lou Dobbs, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, Texas Congressman Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum are scheduled to speak Saturday at the Tea Party Convention in Richmond, Va.

Cain is headlining Saturday morning’s events – and told The Daily Caller in a phone interview that he plans to focus on what the Tea Party movement needs to do to stay influential after the midterm elections – and to maintain the momentum it’s had through the elections.

“I’m going to talk about two things: first off, how successful the Tea Party has been to this point and secondly, don’t let up,” Cain said. “My main message to the Tea Party people is: don’t let up. Keep supporting your candidates and make sure we have informed voters on November 2.”

Santorum, who made a significant move towards a presidential candidacy on Thursday by launching a political action committee in Iowa aimed at helping Iowan conservative candidates, will participate in a national policy forum Saturday afternoon. Joining Santorum in the forum will be Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Iowa Congressman Steve King and former Virginia Senator George Allen.

The convention has about 2,300 registered attendees and is conducting a straw poll that includes potential 2012 candidates from all political parties – including current President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.