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Buddy Roemer for President?


  Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer made it official last week: he's considering a run for the Republican nomination for president. Roemer, 67, is considered a long shot in the race, but so far there is no official frontrunner.

  A Harvard-educated son of north Louisiana, Roemer served four terms in Congress and one as governor, from 1988-92. He was the only man ever to defeat Edwin Edwards at the polls. Four years after his come-from-behind victory in the 1987 governor's race, Roemer finished a disappointing third in his bid for re-election — behind EWE and former KKK leader and Nazi sympathizer David Duke. Roemer attempted a comeback in the 1995 governor's race but failed to make the runoff, finishing fourth.

  While many Louisiana politicos scoff at the notion of Roemer trying to win the GOP nomination, friends say he has been studying up on energy issues, economics, tax policy, and other key issues in anticipation of his run for the White House. He is said to be getting advice from GOP consultant Mark McKinnon, who met Roemer during his gubernatorial days.

  As a sign of how serious he is about the race, Roemer stepped down last week as CEO of Business First Bank in Baton Rouge, which he founded five years ago. For now, Roemer will continue to serve as president of the bank.

  First up on Roemer's campaign: a stop this week at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, an event for social conservatives just outside Des Moines. He will join former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, businessman and radio host Herman Cain and other GOP hopefuls.

  Roemer started his political career as a Democrat and switched to the GOP while serving as governor. He never won the hearts of Louisiana Republicans, however, perhaps because he vetoed a no-exceptions anti-abortion bill while still a Democrat. That veto became the first in memory to be overridden by state lawmakers, but it was later struck down by the federal courts as unconstitutional. At some point in the campaign, perhaps as early as this week, Roemer will have to explain — if not defend — that veto to the GOP's growing ranks of social conservatives. — Clancy DuBos

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