He hasn't appeared in any presidential debates, you never hear his name in polls and he is rarely mentioned in the media. 2012 Republican presidential candidate Buddy Roemer is in the race for the White House to change the Washington system.
After months of Republican presidential debates, a rollercoaster ride of frontrunners and primaries and caucuses, it may come as a surprise to some that there are more than four GOP candidates running for the White House.
Former Louisiana Congressman and Governor Buddy Roemer announced last summer that he would be seeking the Republican nomination to unseat President Barack Obama. Although he has received a tremendous following from individuals who are apolitical and feel disenfranchised with the current two-party system, Roemer has been unable to gain national momentum.
Roemer, who is known to many as the man that does not accept donations more than $100 and refuses to take PAC or special interests money, has harshly criticized Washington and the political system that has been inflicted with money.
DigitalJournal.com spoke with Roemer to get a glimpse inside of his presidential campaign, the important issues he feels most passionate about, his opinions on his Republican opponents and a possible alternative path to the White House.
The Harvard-educated businessman that built a billion-dollar bank that never foreclosed on a single mortgage holder, who has been out of politics for more than 20 years, believes that when he made the decision to run on Jul. 21 the country was in trouble. Roemer stated that the country needs a series of reforms, including budgetary, taxes, immigration, trade, banking, healthcare and energy.
"None of that was going to happen unless the president [would be] free to lead," said Roemer, speaking from his home state of Louisiana. "The last three presidents in America have been bought by big checks and big money and I knew this election was going to be the worst in the history of the country."
The four-term congressman knew that giant multi-national corporations were going to own the politicians. Because of this, Roemer made the decision to set a $100 donation limit, no PAC and Super PAC contributions. "I think this election is disgusting and disgraceful."
Each of the remaining GOP candidates and President Barack Obama has Super PACs, which is something that the former governor abhors."The President of the United States added to it, not only is he raising $1 billion, which is a disgrace, he is now doing it with Super PACs and special interests," noted Roemer.
"That's why I run, this is not about party, this is not about the past, this is about the future and I have never taken PAC money and I thought I would make this the basis of my campaign."
It was reported last week that Roemer has become the first presidential candidate to qualify for federal matching funds from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). In order to be eligible for these matching funds, a candidate must raise more than $100,000 with more than $5,000 in each of 20 states.As of this week, Roemer said that he has raised nearly half a million dollars -- $25 the average gift and 20,000 contributors.
Roemer, who Tweeted the news, believes this is absolutely important for his campaign. He added that it will raise another $500,000 and his name is on the ballot in about 30 states."We're going to give these establishment, corrupt politicians hell in this campaign over this issue. Who bought you? Who do you get your money from? What obligations have you made?"
Roemer's predicament in this campaign is akin to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson's bid for the Republican nomination. Johnson, who is now running as a Libertarian, appeared in only two debates, did not register in any of the national polls and could not gain the assistance of the RNC.
When asked if Roemer could go a route similar to Johnson -- running as an Independent or for a third party -- he responded that Americans Elect is a good option for him since they are in all 50 states. He also mentioned the Unity Party where he would reach out to an Independent, a libertarian or a Democrat in order to form a ticket.
However, Roemer noted that he is different than Johnson because it is exactly what he expected. He reiterated that both the Republican and Democratic parties are bought and are joined by the hip."If the choices we've got in America are Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, I'm embarrassed," stated Roemer.
"No one has built a budget reform, no one has built tax reform [and] no one has talked about immigration comprehensively. All they've done is run the other person down and run a negative campaign. We need to rebuild America, we need to be positive and we need to be together."
Roemer feels you can build the United States with Independents, Republicans and Democrats and with people who put their country first and not their party. He added that the primary impediment from doing so is money."I don't think Washington, D.C. is broke, it's bought," added Roemer. "Obama is the worst, and Mitt Romney is running him a race to see who can enter hell first."
When noting that he never received a bailout for his bank, he explained that there are things in life called honor, leadership, transparency and honesty with the American people and Roemer says that he doesn't see any of this in the GOP candidates and the Commander-in-Chief.
"Romney is the one percent and Newt Gingrich is a lobbyist for the one percent."The former governor, who has a history of serving and fighting both political parties, touched upon Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul. Roemer, who served with Paul in the 1980s, says he likes him, but said there's a problem with the libertarian-leaning congressman: he has a Super PAC.
"Ron Paul is just like them, he takes PAC money and he has a Super PAC," said Roemer. "If Ron Paul wanted to stand with me, I would love to have him, but he has got to get the lobbyist money out of the room."
In an interview with MSNBC late last year, Roemer explained his experience with the Occupy Wall Street movement. He noted in the interview that he did not go there to talk, but rather to listen to what the individuals had to say.Roemer believes that if he was elected he would "absolutely" bring the message of the 99 percent to the Oval Office and says the "differences are so obvious here."
He added that the media treats a person "like a trivial candidate" if they run a campaign similar to his (I.E. no PACs and Super PACs, receiving matching funds, raising a small sum of money and has 200 investors from all 50 states).
"I wish I were not alone, I wish the others would join with me and then there would be no need for me."What would Roemer's first acts be in his first 100 days in office?- Campaign Reform- Prohibit lobbyists from Congress- Prohibit a registered lobbyist to participate in a fundraiser or bring a check- Limit PAC contributions- Eliminate Super PACs- Establish criminal penalties on politicians who violate the aforementioned rules.
"When you finish up, Congress will be clean and then they can turn to the problems of America," stated Roemer. "Right now, on the average working day of a congressman, he turns to another fundraiser. They spend 70 percent of their time raising money."