The road to the White House is a long one, with many debates and other contests along the way. On January 3, Republican voters in Iowa showed support for their favorite candidates. Mitt Romney was declared the winner by just eight votes. He and Rick Santorum each captured 25% of support. Ron Paul finished a close third. The day after the vote, one candidate, Michele Bachmann, dropped out of the race.
Candidates must do well in caucuses and primaries (see “Election Words”) before they can even dream of calling the White House home. Iowa voters have had their say. On January 10, New Hampshire voters will get their chance. Through June, other states are scheduled to hold similar events (visit timeforkids.com/electiondates for a calendar of events). Finally, in August, Republicans will choose their candidate at the Republican National Convention, in Tampa, Florida.
Barack Obama will likely be the Democratic nominee. He kicked off his campaign in April 2011, and his party is expected to officially announce his candidacy at the Democratic National Convention, in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September. Obama and his Republican opponent will address big issues such as jobs and the economy, health care, education, the environment and national security. Here’s a look at President Obama and the current Republican front-runners.
Birth Date: August 4, 1961 (age 50)
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii
Accomplishments: Elected in 2008 as the 44th United States President, Obama is the first African American to hold the country’s top job. Prior to that, Obama was a lawyer, a law school professor, an Illinois state senator and a U.S. senator. He has written three books. The President is married to Michelle, and they have two daughters.
In His Words: “Now is not the time to slam on the brakes. Now is the time to step on the gas,” Obama said on December 5 at the White House. “Now is the time to keep growing the economy, to keep creating jobs, to keep giving working Americans the boost that they need.”
Birth Date: June 17, 1943 (age 68)
Birthplace: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Accomplishments: Gingrich represented Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1999. From 1995 to 1999, he served as the Speaker of the House, a top position. From 1989 to 1995, he served as the House minority whip, another important job. Before entering politics, Gingrich was a college history and geography professor. He is the author of 23 books. Gingrich is married to
Callista. He has two daughters and two grandchildren.
In His Words: “My basic message is simple: If you want jobs and economic growth, I know how to do it,” he told supporters in Iowa. “I’ve done it twice before.”
Birth Date: August 20, 1935 (age 76)
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Accomplishments: Paul served in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Texas, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and has served again from 1997 till today. Paul is also a doctor. He was a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force in the 1960s. Paul has campaigned to be President twice before, and has written several books. He and his wife, Carol, have five children and 18 grandchildren.
In His Words: “The most valuable resource for children, teenagers, college kids and adults is liberty,” Paul said in Iowa. “If we protect those liberties we will have the maximum amount of progress.”
Birth Date: March 12, 1947 (age 64)
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
Accomplishments: Romney has law and business degrees, and spent most of his career as a successful businessman. He helped organize and steer the 2002 Winter Olympics, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Romney served as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, and worked to improve the state’s economy. He has written two books. Romney also tried for the Republican nomination in the last presidential election. He has been married to Ann since 1969. They have five sons and 16 grandchildren.
In His Words: “In the campaign to come, the American ideals of economic freedom and opportunity need a clear and unapologetic defense,” he told Iowa voters. “And I intend to make it, because I have lived it.”
Birth Date: May 10, 1958 (age 53)
Birthplace: Winchester, Virginia
Accomplishments: Santorum has law and business degrees. Pennsylvanians elected him to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990. He served as a U.S. senator from 1995 to 2007. Santorum and his wife, Karen, have seven children. He is the author of the book It Takes a Family.
In His Words: “I’m going to do my best to strengthen the American family,” Santorum said in Iowa. “That’s how I’m going to strengthen the economy, how I’m going to strengthen America.”
To learn about Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry, go to timeforkids.com/election12candidates.
In the next months, you’ll be hearing these words. Circle them whenever they appear in this story!
campaign: the competition for public office; organized actions that a candidate takes in an attempt to win an election
candidate: a person who seeks office
caucus: early statewide meetings where members of a political party select delegates to support their favorite candidates
convention: a big meeting in which delegates from a political party pick the candidates for President and Vice President
delegate: a person given power or authority to act for others; a representative
front-runner: a candidate who is thought to be in the lead
nominee: a person chosen by a political party to be a candidate
political party: an organized group of voters with similar ideas and goals for a country and its government. The two main parties in the U.S. are the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.
polls: surveys of specific groups; places where people vote
primary: an early election in which voters choose their favorite candidates
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