Today, Tuesday January 3, 2012, GOP kicks off their presidential race in Iowa.
With all the challenges Americans are facing, domestically as well as globally, observers keep close watch for potential leadership in the GOP. The House of Representative, led by GOP since 2010, has been criticized as out of touch and not able to connect with 99% of Americans. Many scholars from prestigious think tanks have noted the dysfunctional Congress as a threat to the US Economy, Security, and Global Power.
The New York Times published a debate "What Do Iowans Want in a Candidate?", noting pressing questions about the economy, jobs, and immigration.
Brookings noted that in the GOP race to win the Iowa caucuses, polls have tracked wild swings in voter opinion and the lead has changed hands almost from week to week among the contenders.
The latest polls have Mitt Romney, Rich Santorum, and Ron Paul as the top three potential winners in Iowa.
In an interview on December 30, James Lindsay, Vice President Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations, observed that the GOP Presidential Candidates not showing specific policy for foreign affairs, in comparing to the incumbent president. "There are probably differences of degree among those candidates, and while they clearly argue that they would produce a better foreign policy than Barack Obama, it's not clear just how different their foreign policy would be."
Lindsay also emphasized: "One thing always to keep in mind in campaigns, as we listen to what candidates say about what they will do, is that campaigning is not governing. Campaigning is about making promises. Governing is about making choices."
Watch Hours Before Caucuses, Many Iowan Voters Still Undecided Over GOP Contenders on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.
BBC provides a quick chart for Republican candidates on the issues
• Mitt Romney: Ex-Massachusetts governor and Mormon; presumed front-runner though doubts remain for some over his conservative credentials
• Rick Perry: Texas governor; once seen as a conservative alternative to Mr Romney, his campaign has been damaged by a series of gaffes
• Ron Paul: Texas congressman and, at 76, oldest in race. Libertarian-minded, with a band of devoted followers
• Rick Santorum: Ex-Pennsylvania senator and social conservative. Nearly written off, but seen late surge in support in Iowa
• Newt Gingrich: Ex-House of Representatives' speaker; Briefly led the field, but support collapsed amid a fusillade of attacks ads
• Michele Bachmann: Minnesota congresswoman and outspoken favourite of the Tea Party, her campaign has faltered in recent months
• Jon Huntsman: Ex-Utah governor and Mormon. Has decided not to run in Iowa and concentrate efforts on New Hampshire's primary