Wall Street Journal today touts Indiana's Mike Pence as a potential frontrunner for the GOP nomination who can unite all wings of the party:
"When conservative activist and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer scans the potential 2012 Republican field, not much excites him. "All the obvious frontline names have all the usual pluses and minuses," Mr. Bauer says.
But in considering one candidate, Mr. Bauer sees only qualities that he likes. Indiana Rep. Mike Pence is a military and fiscal hawk who frequently plugs his Christian credentials. To some, he's the potential candidate best able to unite two wings of the Republican Party—its fiscal conservatives and social conservatives.
"He is definitely the guy to watch," says Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, a group that opposes gay marriage and abortion. . .
Mr. Pence usually draws under 5% in voter surveys testing the emerging 2012 field. But the excitement he's stirred among a swath of conservatives—he won a straw poll at the prominent Values Voter Summit in September—points both to the fluidity of the 2012 lineup and the dearth of names rousing interest among the religious right, a dependable GOP voting bloc. . .
A former radio personality, the 51-year-old Mr. Pence became a darling among fiscal conservatives for opposing two of President George W. Bush's signature initiatives, the 2001 No Child Left Behind education act and the 2003 Medicare Part D drug benefit. He saw both as violating his party's small-government principles. . .
Mr. Pence favors reducing the size of the federal government, and even the power of the presidency. He wants to amend the Constitution both to ban abortions and to allow marriage only between men and women. . .
It was his speech at the Values Voter Summit, a marquee annual event among social conservative groups, which did the most to rouse support. The speech, with its calls to ban all federal abortion funding and stem-cell research, drew standing ovations and chants of "President Pence."
When summit attendees cast ballots in a straw poll for president, Mr. Pence came in first, ahead of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and others. . .
The Indiana lawmaker, who first won election to Congress in 2000, also has the backing of budget hawks such as Chris Chocola, a former Indiana congressman who is now president of the fiscally conservative Club for Growth. 'Mike has the retail appeal of Huckabee but is an across-the-board conservative with all the credentials. There is no one else like that,' says Mr. Chocola."