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If any other of our presidents had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought it a proud moment for America?
Fears about the global economy led to the biggest panic in financial markets since the 2008 financial crisis. The Dow plunged nearly 513 points Thursday, its biggest point decline since Oct. 22, 2008. Only three of the 500 stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 index had gains. Oil fell by 6 percent. The yield on the two-year Treasury note hit a record low as investors sought out relatively stable investments.All three major stock indexes are down 10 percent or more from their previous highs, a drop-off that is considered to be a market correction. A drop of 20 percent or more signifies the start of a bear market, an extended period of stock declines.Investors are increasingly concerned about the possibility of another recession in the U.S. and a debt crisis in Europe.Read more: Stock Market Bloodbath: Dow Plunges 513 Points on Fear Important: Can you afford to Retire? Shocking Poll Results
14 August 2011 Last updated at 10:08 ET Share this pageEmail Print Share this pageShareFacebookTwitter.US election 2012: Republican candidatesPresident Barack Obama has officially launched his campaign for re-election in 2012 and has begun raising money in earnest. So who is vying to be his Republican opponent in the race for the White House?The Republican field is taking shape and leading candidates debated some of the issues in a televised event in Iowa on 11 August. Here are the leading Republican contenders:Mitt Romney Mitt Romney, the wealthy former governor of Massachusetts, officially launched his second bid for the Republican presidential nomination on a farm in New Hampshire in June.He enters the fray as the presumed front-runner, placing at or near the top in early polling.Mr Romney, son of former Michigan Governor George Romney, made his first bid for the presidency in 2008, after earning a fortune in corporate strategy and private equity. But his considerable resources (he spent about $35m [£21.4m] of his own money before dropping out in February 2008) were not enough to overcome what others perceived as inconsistent messages, policy shifts and questions about his authenticity as a conservative.Mr Romney seems to have learned lessons from 2008, and is casting himself as a serious grown-up in a Republican Party characterised in the 2010 mid-term elections by grassroots anger.Continue reading the main story Those who say they aren't runningIndiana Governor Mitch Daniels said his wife did not want him to runMississippi Governor Haley Barbour would have faced questions about his career as a lobbyist and about race relationsSouth Dakota Senator John Thune cited the difficulty of raising enough money Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, brother of George W Bush, has not ruled out a 2016 runIndiana Congressman Mike Pence, an influential conservative, may run for governorAfter a long flirtation with a bid New York businessman Donald Trump said his heart lay in the private sectorBaptist minister, broadcaster and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee indicated he did not have God's "full blessing" for a runChris Christie, governor of New Jersey, has ruled out running multiple times, but still gets askedAfter his 2008 defeat, Mr Romney cautiously courted important political figures in key early primary states, including South Carolina and New Hampshire, the state he now calls home. He raised money for many congressional and gubernatorial candidates - earning him much goodwill in the party - and has developed a reputation for being hard-working and loyal.His financial expertise and impressive economic record in private industry, particularly in turning around troubled businesses, could be an asset if the economy continues to be the dominant issue in 2012.But Mr Romney has several hurdles to overcome. As governor of the generally liberal state of Massachusetts, he reformed the state healthcare system - an overhaul that looks remarkably similar to the one President Barack Obama signed in 2010 in the face of united Republican opposition.One of Mr Romney's first policy speeches of the 2012 campaign was devoted to explaining that although he believed the overhaul was right for Massachusetts, he would repeal it on a national level if elected president.Mr Romney's Mormon roots could also present an issue, as the Republican primary contests in Iowa and South Carolina tend to be dominated by evangelical Christian conservatives who may be uncomfortable with his faith.Rick Perry Rick Perry may have entered the race later than his rivals but he has spent months raising money in Texas, where he has been governor for 10 years.Although yet to formally declare - that is expected to happen on Saturday in South Carolina - he and his team indicated this week they have their eyes firmly on the White House.His mantra is small government and he can boast that he balanced the books in the second largest state in the US, although critics complain at the scale of resulting spending cuts, especially in education.A deepy religious man, Mr Perry sealed his popularity among Christian evangelicals when he led a prayer rally attended by 30,000 people in Houston in early August.So he can unite two strong powerbases of the Republican party - the fiscal hawks and the social conservatives.Whether he can unseat Mitt Romney as front-runner or drain support from the other Tea Party favourite Michele Bachmann, who occupies similar political ground, remains to be seen.But his ability to fire up the Republican base - a la Bachmann - will energise the race.Michele Bachmann The Minnesota congresswoman, a favourite of the Tea Party, used the first televised debate in New Hampshire to formally announce that she was entering the contest.She is an outspoken conservative who has been spending time in the early primary states. The fiery Ms Bachmann has a small core of staunch support and observers believe that she could draw a lot of votes from Sarah Palin's fan base if the former Alaska governor does not run.The Iowa-born 55-year-old has a law degree and worked as a tax attorney, and she has fostered 23 children.Newt Gingrich Mr Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, announced he was running against Mr Obama in 2012 on YouTube, Twitter, and in an interview on Fox News.Since he left office 12 years ago, Mr Gingrich has build a broad network of conservative businesses and non-profit organisations, generating films, books and position papers, and has sought to align himself as an elder statesman and a creative source of conservative policy ideas.He remains widely respected in the party for leading congressional Republicans out of 40 years in opposition in 1994, although he lost the speaker's gavel in 1998 after the party took significant losses.But his chances took a serious knock when senior members of his campaign team walked out, citing differences over strategy.There were previous hiccups too, like his attack on a plan popular among Republicans to slash and privatise a healthcare programme for the elderly.Mr Gingrich can be both inflammatory and irascible - qualities Americans do not tend to see as presidential - and has a long record of undiplomatic quotes.His three marriages may also haunt him in a 2012 campaign. His first wife has accused him of divorcing her while she was in hospital recovering from cancer.Mr Gingrich was having an affair with a staffer (whom he later married) while he was leading the charge to impeach former President Bill Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.Ron Paul The Texas congressman has won a devoted following among libertarian-minded Republicans with his calls for a return to the gold standard, the abolition of the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Service, and his staunch opposition - unusual in the Republican Party - to the war in Iraq and to American militarism in general.Supporters of Mr Paul, an obstetrician, gained a reputation during the 2008 race for their enthusiasm for the candidate - as well as for their practice of disrupting rival candidates' rallies and press conferences.Some of his backers also became known for espousing far-out conspiracy theories, such as the suggestion the US government was behind the 11 September 2001 terror attacks, tainting his movement in the eyes of the mainstream Republican electorate.Mr Paul, 75, announced his candidacy in May in remarks that mixed anti-war cries with arguments for the legalisation of heroin and the end of federal flood and disaster insurance programmes.He will bring to the race a legion of devoted followers who can organise and raise funds.But to his detractors, Mr Paul is too eccentric and his ideas too fringe for them to take him seriously as a presidential hopeful.In July 2011, Mr Paul announced he would not stand again for his House seat, saying he wanted to remain focused on his presidential bid.Jon Huntsman The former governor of Utah joins the race for the Republican presidential nomination with a distinct, if awkward, qualification: he worked for the other side.As ambassador to China for two years under President Barack Obama, he has arguably the most foreign policy expertise of the Republican field.But it remains to be seen whether or not that experience - which he defends as loyal service to the country rather than the president's policies - will be an advantage to Mr Huntsman in his bid to succeed the man who appointed him.Jon Huntsman, 51, is the motorcycle-driving son of billionaire Jon Huntsman Sr, who founded a large chemical manufacturer.He dropped out of high school to play keyboard in a rock band, later finishing school and graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. He also served as a Mormon missionary in Taiwan, and is said to speak fluent Mandarin.His tone has been markedly more moderate than that of his rivals, and he has in the passed backed civil unions for same-sex couples and said he believes in the science of climate change.Since he spent the last two years outside the country, he must now introduce himself to Republican voters who have been steeped in the angry, stridently anti-government Tea Party movement.Some analysts have suggested Mr Huntsman aims to be the adult in the race, rejecting his rivals' crowd-pleasing attacks on Mr Obama while counselling the US must make hard choices to rein in the national debt.But it remains to be seen whether after four years of Mr Obama in the White House, Mr Huntsman will satisfy voters.Rick Santorum The former Pennsylvania Senator hopes to capitalise on his solid social conservative credentials, but he last appeared on the ballot in 2006, when lost his re-election bid by 17 points.Polls this time around have shown him a distant seventh place in the race but that was before the televised debate in Iowa, when he came out fighting.He attacked Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann with a gusto previously kept under wraps, but he has a lot of ground to make up on the front-runners.Herman Cain The former CEO of a pizza chain entered the race formally in May. He appeared on the same platform as the leading contenders at the debate in New Hampshire and again in Iowa, which were two opportunities for him to introduce himself to many Americans for the first time.But in neither debate did he really make his mark, and remarks he once made that suggested he would be fearful of hiring a Muslim, in case they were a terrorist, have come back to haunt him.Others to mentionOther candidates who are running include Gary Johnson, who was governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2002, Thaddeus McCotter, a Congressman from Michigan, and gay rights activist Fred Karger. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin remains the biggest name in US politics outside the White House and she has refused to rule out a presidential bid. The running mate of 2008 Republican nominee Senator John McCain is on a bus tour around the US, often appearing in the same state as the other candidates, at the same time. But while loved by a core of Republican voters, she is loathed by Democrats, and many doubt that she is serious about running.Some speculation persists that former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani may enter the race. He suffered a dismal defeat in the 2008 Republican nomination race. But in early June he travelled to the early primary state of New Hampshire and launched attacks on Mr Romney and Mr Obama. He has said he will decide by the end of the summerBBC © 2011
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