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  • January 09, 2012 : 20:01
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Ron Paul

Age: 75.

Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Religion: Baptist.

Education: B.S in Biology from Gettysburg College, M.D. from Duke University.

Experience: Ran for president as an independent in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008, congressman for Texas on numerous occasions.

How He Wins: Paul's base, like his values, are unwavering. Small, but unwavering. His core supporters have launched massive grassroots campaigns both online and in their communities. He is convincing and what you see is what you get, which might appeal to Americans looking for strong values and consistency.

How He Loses: While Paul's libertarian views concerning social welfare will appeal to the majority of the Republican base, his beliefs likely extend too far for most of them to take him seriously. His stance on the legalization of drugs, the Civil Rights Act and the withdrawal from Afghanistan will not sit well with the same majority his social policies appeal to. His call for a complete removal of a safety net will make what's left of middle class Republicans weary in these trying times.

Jon Huntsman Jr.

Age: 51.

Birthplace: Palo Alto, California.

Religion: Mormon.

Education: B.A in politics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Experience: Former U.S. Ambassador to China, Singapore, Indonesia; former governor of Utah.

How He Wins: Huntsman's willingness to work with the Democratic Party towards a more bi-partisan effort could very well raise his stock among center-right Republicans. His extensive experience with economic powerhouses like China gives him an edge in the foreign policy department, though many Americans are looking for stronger leadership at home, not abroad.

How He Loses: It's unclear whether Jon Huntsman wants to be President or just does not want Mitt Romney to be. The Mormon vote is not so expansive that it can be split, and Huntsman is bound to encounter the same problems Romney does when trying to get voters to look past his faith. Huntsman also has a track record which includes extensive work and praise for Obama but his biggest problem might be that he's a little fish in a big pond, a big pond filled with bigger fish.

Rick Santorum

Age: 53.

Birthplace: Winchester, Virginia.

Religion: Roman Catholic.

Education: BA in Political Science from Pennsylvania State, Masters in Business Administration from University of Pittsburgh, Juris Doctor from Dickinson School of Law.

Experience: Former Senator for Pennsylvania.

How He Wins: No one ever accused Santorum of being soft-spoken; his confrontational approach to politics has made waves big enough to ride into the primaries. He is running a "family first" campaign but has spoken well enough on issues of foreign policy and immigration to pull in a second place finish in Iowa. Voters looking to wrestle the reins of power back into the hands of the GOP could potentially line up behind Santorum.

How He Loses: Policy and platform wise, Santorum is all over the place; he will be hard pressed to track down a strong enough base that can stomach his values front to back. His positions on key issues like privacy, homosexuality and abortion are so far right that he might be unelectable on the national stage but his presence will keep other candidates on the offensive as his voice is hard to ignore.

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  • Anonymous
    The problem with "ABO" is that it is trbail, and all about blind Party loyalty....and while nice at rallies of True Believer Rubes...tends to make for insular thinking. Meaning who you like or commit to support out of Party boss and activist loyalty is less important than knowledge of how a Rick Santorum, a Bachmann, a Gingrich would fare in the general election. To call others "mushy middle of the Roaders" may be comforting, but from the outside, it does make the True Believers on the Left or Right look like clueless rubes.Consider the insistance of loyal Democrat cadres in 2004 that it was "ABB"! The Dem stalwarts honestly looked people in the face and claimed that people would find Al Sharpton a fine President and all good, true Democrats and union people would support Rev Al should he be the nominee.To Centrist (re:DINO in Rush Limbaugh parlance) Democrats - as well as Moderates and Independents - that was crazy talk. No way would they vote Rev Al..and that did not make 85% of the general electorate "mushy middle of the roaders".