Know Your Republican Contenders

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It's A Free Country takes a look at some of the past, present and future contestants for the Republican nomination.

As the polls gear up, some pols have bowed out. Some are finally jumping in, and others continue to test the waters. Here's an updated review of where everyone stands in the race for the White House.

Mitt Romney

Status: Officially Running

Mitt Romney is a man who has held multiple positions on the issues, and sometimes on the same issue. His campaign aides have a term they prefer: Romney, they say, is a "turnaround" artist. While that can refer to his record in reviving struggling businesses, one might be forgiven for assuming it applies to his stance on social issues. Where he stands »»

Michele Bachmann

Status: Officially Running

With Representative Michelle Bachmann in the mix, one thing is certain — it will be a lively race. The Minnesota Republican is known for her use of provocative rhetoric and does not shy from controversy. Where she stands »»

Rick Perry

Status: Officially Running

George W. Bush successfully made the move from Texas Governor to U.S. president. Can the man who took his place in the Lone Star State follow suit? Depends on whether Rick Perry's good-looking economic record withstands national scrutiny. Where he stands »»


Newt Gingrich

Status: Officially Running

No, we have not gone back in time to the nineties. Cher is not introducing a new generation to autotune with “I Believe”, “Friends” is not on TV for three straight prime-time hours, but Newt Gingrich really is running for president. Where he stands »»

Jon Huntsman, Jr.

Status: Officially Running

Jon Huntsman, Jr., is looking like a possible threat to President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. On January 31, Huntsman tendered his resignation as US Ambassador to China, a position for which he was tapped by the current president. In 2009, Huntsman resigned as the Republican Governor of Utah in order to join the Obama administration in this capacity. During his tenure as Ambassador, reports indicated that Huntsman and the president got along well, enjoying a solid working relationship despite coming from opposite parties. Where he stands »»

Rick Santorum

Status: Officially Running

Positives for Rick Santorum include his hard line on immigration, staunch opposition to abortion, support for practices at Guantanamo Bay. The negatives? Impassioned rhetoric aside, what immediately comes to mind is Santorum's unfortunate distinction as the namesake of a sexual neologism. Where he stands »»

Gary Johnson

Status: Officially Running

The former New Mexico governmor made his name by liberally cutting spending, favoring legalization of marijuana and vetoing a whopping 750 bills over eight years in office in NM. He's definitively libertarian—but can he distinguish himself from Ron Paul? Where he stands »»

Ron Paul

Status: Officially Running

For a long time, Ron Paul was on the fringe of the Republican establishment and often voted off the party line. But the rise of the Tea Party has resulted in his views—which have been consistent—almost breaking into the Republican mainstream. Where he stands »»

Herman Cain

Status: Officially Running

Herman Cain is unlikely to win broad support, but he comes off as genuine and willing to say what he thinks. As in, "stupid people are running America." Cain does well in debates, but his views—like phasing out Social Security in exchange for private retirement accounts—are a little out of step with the Republican mainstream. But his business experience and the fact that he hasn't been a politician might help him win over voters who are frustrated with Washington. Where he stands »»

Thaddeus McCotter

Status: Officially Running

Yes America, there is more than one Republican presidential candidate who plays rock music. If you miss Mike Huckabee (and the idea of the leader of the free world performing "Cat Scratch Fever"), Thaddeus McCotter, a U.S. Representative from Michigan, could be your man. Where he stands »»

Roy Moore

Status: Not Running

Remember Roy Moore, aka the "Ten Commandments Judge?" He's the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who secretly installed a five-ton granite rock carved with the biblical ten commandments into the state courthouse and refused to get rid of it. Where he stands »»

Tim Pawlenty

Status: Out

Tim Pawlenty. Who? Exactly.

That was the response of most Americans when Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor became the first Republican to enter the 2012 presidential race. Now Pawlenty has the distinction of being the first hopeful to drop out. Where he stands »»

Mike Huckabee

Status: Out

Mike Huckabee is something of a renaissance man. Not only did he serve as Governor of Arkansas for a full decade, not only did he run for president last time around, he also plays bass in a rock band, has created a 12-step weight-loss program, runs marathons, was named Man of the Year by the American Sportsfishing Association in 1997, and knows how to cook squirrel in a popcorn popper. And, of course, he loves some Lynyrd Sknyrd. Where he stands »»

Mitch Daniels

Status: Out

Of Gov. Mitch Daniels, Conservative columnist George Will predicted that he holds potentially great appeal to conservative voters as the anti-Obama. “If they’re disappointed with Mr. Obama, then a short, balding, unimpressive, uncharismatic, competent governor might be just the key.” Where he stands »»

Haley Barbour

Status: Out

Don’t let Haley Barbour fool you. Though he may refer to himself as “a fat redneck”, though he’s got a charming Mississippi country-boy drawl, though his white hair, apple cheeks and twinkly eyes may make you think of Santa Claus, the man is a perspicacious politician. Where he stands »»

Donald Trump

Status: Out

Donald Trump is always ready for the big time. The billionaire and reality-show star has been flirting with the presidency for years, but he's more famous than ever and and enjoys a new love affair with the Tea Party that he thinks might translate into political success. Where he stands »»

Sarah Palin

Status: Out

Sarah Palin did nothing to tamp down speculation about her 2012 plans during a speech in Long Island on Thursday. When asked who would make the ideal Republican challenger, she said she couldn't offer any names, before adding, “What I would look for is a mom, somebody who's administered locally, state, interstate with energy issues, so maybe a mayor, a governor, an oil commissioner, maybe somebody who's already run for something, vice president. I don't know!”

“It's going to be a blast to see who does offer themselves up,” Palin said.

Where she stands »»