Al Cardenas, chairman of the influential American Conservative Union, tells Newsmax.TV that President Barack Obama will “without doubt” go down to defeat when he seeks re-election in 2012 -- no matter what the media are saying.
He also says Rep. Michele Bachmann will remain a force to be reckoned with in the Republican presidential nominating process, and says Sen. Marco Rubio could be a “difference maker” in the 2012 election if he is the GOP vice presidential candidate.
Cardenas is the former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. His American Conservative Union is best known for sponsoring the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Cardenas says his group will host all the Republican presidential candidates when it sponsors the Florida Conservative Political Action Conference next month.
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“It’s following the tradition of our annual CPAC in Washington. This is a regional event but we have all the presidential candidates coming. Senator Marco Rubio will be a favorite with the crowd. We have Ralph Reed, Grover Norquist, Ann Coulter.”
Cardenas is very enthusiastic about the 2012 presidential election. “Clearly the needle has moved to the right, and for a conservative that’s a great thing,” he says. “It’s amazing how the bandwidth has narrowed. There may be differences of opinion [among Republican candidates] but all within a much narrower range. Most candidates should be for a balanced budget amendment. Whoever becomes the nominee is going to be a conservative this time around.”
Asked if President Obama is headed for defeat next year, Cardenas responds: “Without doubt. The media can play this any way they want to but no president’s ever gotten re-elected with the economic indicators that we have in our country, sadly, because of his policies and the Democratic Congress that preceded the [Republican] House victories. We're in a deep hole.”
Cardenas believes it’s a “shame” that Obama is heading off on a 10-day vacation while the nation is in the midst of an economic crisis, raising questions about his real concerns regarding unemployment.
“I don’t know if he cares a lot about what most of us think,” Cardenas tells Newsmax.TV.
“Frankly I think he’s enjoying the ride, the privileges of being the president of the United States, and he’s taking it for all it’s worth. I don’t think that’s what a leader should do under these circumstances. I think, shame on him.
“Now regarding the jobs, we already know he can create jobs. He created 160,000 new government jobs with the stimulus money.”
Cardenas offers his take on Michele Bachmann’s surprising candidacy.
“She came out of nowhere, and now everybody says there’s a top-three tier and she’s certainly one of those.
“A lot of credit goes to her. She started this thing without a lot of people taking her seriously and she’s shown herself to be the smart lady that she is, a tax lawyer, a competent member of Congress, one who’s been holding the torch for the movement for a long time. She’s holding her own and I think you’re going to see her competing throughout this process.”
As for the vicious attacks on Bachmann from the left, Cardenas declares: “That’s the best thing going for her. The more the left attacks her, the more it vindicates her role in the process for conservatives.”
Regarding GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry’s attack on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Cardenas says: “He’s got a point in criticizing the chairman of the Federal Reserve. I think most conservatives are sick and tired of an organization that operates in secrecy.
“There are a lot of policies at the Reserve that conservatives don’t agree with, and it’s fair game to attack the chairman.”
Cardenas is not surprised that many in the media are not paying attention to Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy.
“There’s now a recognition that there’s a lot of value to a lot of things that Ron Paul says, but there’s a crowded field, a number of presidential candidates. He’s got to prove his worth. He’s got to show that indeed he’s going to do well.
“The national polls don’t seem to favor him. The national fund-raising numbers don’t seem to favor him. But he’s got a strong loyal grassroots base, and he’s going to be in this for a while.”
Cardenas was also asked what it would mean for Republicans if Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is the GOP vice presidential candidate. “He’s a rising star. I’m a big fan I‘d love for him to be considered,” Cardenas responds.
“There are 12 to 15 states that are going to decide the election. Five or six have a very large Hispanic population, and he could be the difference maker in Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, Florida and New Mexico.”
As for Rubio’s interest in the position, Cardenas adds: “His job is to be a good senator, but if somebody knocks on your door and you’re a patriot, I think not only Marco but just about everyone would be interested.”
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