BEDFORD, N.H.—On the eve of his presidential campaign kickoff, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer said America needs a leader who’s more than another pretty face.
He attacked the GOP field while offering a populist message Wednesday, speaking to about 30 business leaders at the New England Council’s popular “Politics and Eggs” lecture series in Bedford.
“I’m the only guy running for president who’s been both a congressman and a governor,” he said, making the case for an unlikely GOP presidential run from someone who’s been out of elected office for nearly two decades. “The rest of them are guessing.”
Roemer, Louisiana’s governor from 1988 to 1992, admitted that he’s barely known nationwide. But he plans to devote the coming months to courting New Hampshire primary voters. He’s temporarily moving to Manchester.
“No one knows me. I accept that joy,” he said. “I’m going to spend all my time here these next few months.”
The Granite State re-location tactic also was employed by former Democratic presidential candidate and Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman in 2003. He finished a distant fifth in the 2004 New Hampshire primary.
Roemer is a Democrat-turned-Republican who offered flashes of rhetoric from both parties Wednesday.
At the breakfast sponsored by New England business leaders, he attacked corporate profits, free trade agreements and said Congress’ recent financial regulation bill didn’t go far enough to crack down on big business. He also called for increased domestic oil drilling, the elimination of the federal Department of Energy, and dramatically reduced government spending.
He said America needs a new kind of leader.
“What would John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan say today if they were alive as America shrinks?” he asked with a slight Southern accent. “And what are we going to do about it? Elect another pretty face, elect a guy with a lot of money in the bank, or are we going to stand up?”
Roemer is scheduled to formally announce his candidacy Thursday morning at Dartmouth College.
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