The GOP presidential contest may end up with an obvious nominee like Mitt Romney or it may lead to the nomination of someone “out of right field” like Sen. Barry Goldwater in 1964, James Glassman, the executive director of the George W. Bush Institute, tells Newsmax.TV.
Glassman noted that his role in running a non-partisan think tank prohibits him from taking sides or from endorsing a candidate.
Nonetheless, he said that only one other president in history has been reelected with an unemployment rate as high as it is today and Republicans may view President Barack Obama as vulnerable.
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However, the GOP field is unlike the traditional lineups that have typically led to the nomination of the “obvious person.”
“You may get the obvious person or you may get somebody who is completely out of left field or right field as Barry Goldwater was in 1964,” he said. “So we just don’t know but it’s certainly a fascinating race.”
Handicapping the field, the former journalist called Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2008 candidate, an “excellent Republican” with a solid record and said no one should count out former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Glassman said he just doesn’t “know much about” former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and finds comparisons between Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann unfair.
“I think it’s a little unfair that Congresswoman Bachmann gets compared to Sarah Palin,” he said. “I’m not saying that in a negative way but I think they are two very distinct people and I think there’s a lot to like about her.”
As to a candidate who might come in from the outfield, Glassman said he was “a big fan of” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has repeatedly said he would not enter the race. “The fact that there are so few candidates in the race may make Chris Christie change his mind,” he said.
On other issues, Glassman believes a deal will be reach on raising the debt ceiling.
“The debt limit ceiling, the expiration of the current level $14.3 trillion, is a pressure point, it’s a deadline and Congress works against deadlines,” he said. “I used to be the editor of Roll Call, the congressional newspaper, and one thing I learned is that Congress is not going to do anything unless faced with a deadline. So I think the pressure that is building on Congress to make some major changes on the spending side in return for raising the debt limit is a very good thing.”
While again noting he was not taking sides, Glassman said entitlement costs were the biggest problem on the spending side of the equation and said he was “very proud of those who supported” Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan.
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