WASHINGTON (AP) — An independent campaign to draw GOP Rep. Mike Pence into the 2012 presidential race is under way, with a veteran of the Reagan White House launching a petition drive on Monday urging him to enter the primary contests.Ralph Benko, a deputy counsel to Ronald Reagan, announced the America’s President Committee to encourage a Pence-for-president bid. Former Rep. Jim Ryan, R-Kan., is also helping the campaign to collect signatures from conservatives and tea party activists.“Mike Pence extraordinarily exemplifies the optimistic, pro-growth, pro-job creation Reagan-Kemp wing of the GOP. Grass-roots conservatives, Republicans, the tea party and populists are looking for a man or woman of principle who can champion and unite the newly energized and engaged citizenry,” Benko said. “Mike Pence is the best choice to lead us into a new era of peace and prosperity.”Jack Kemp, who died in 2009, was a Republican congressman and vice presidential candidate. He was perhaps best known as an economic conservative who advocated low taxes and lowering barriers to supplying goods and services.Pence, of Indiana, stepped down from his post in the House Republican leadership. He has considered a White House run or perhaps a campaign for governor. One of his party’s strongest advocates for conservative policies, Pence is among the GOP’s most outspoken critics of President Barack Obama.
Monday, January 17, 2011
From the Associated Press on Jan. 17: