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Michigan's Thad McCotter to join GOP presidential field

July 01, 2011|By James Oliphant | Washington Bureau
(Associated Press )

The GOP presidential field finally has new entrant. It’s not Rick Perry. It’s not Sarah Palin. It’s not Chris Christie. (Keep going.) It’s not Jeb Bush. It’s not Paul Ryan. Enough? OK. It’s Thad McCotter.

This is where you ask: Who is Thad McCotter?

Good question. McCotter is a conservative Republican congressman from Michigan. He’s held his suburban Detroit district for almost a decade, and he says he jumping into the race because he is dissatisfied with the current crop of candidates, from Mitt Romney on down.

"There's a lot of people out there that worry the American dream is in danger," McCotter told WJR-AM in Detroit on Friday. "So I was listening to the other candidates. They're fine people. But I don't think I'm hearing anything coming from them that's going to help us seize this opportunity."

He reportedly will announce his candidacy at an event in his district on Saturday.

McCotter, 45, is known for being a sharp-witted -- and sometimes sharp-tongued -- conservative policy wonk. As far his bona fides in that regard, he was ahead of the GOP curve in opposing the Wall Street bailout in 2008, calling it “American Socialism.”

McCotter was also among some Republicans who criticized the Obama administration for not more strongly supporting former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak during the uprising in that country earlier this year.

But being from southeast Michigan, McCotter backed the government bailout of the auto industry -- and he heavily criticized Romney for opposing the program.

His presidential campaign website just went up -- and it encourages voters, in "Braveheart" fashion, to “Seize Freedom.”

McCotter’s entry into the race is unlikely to assuage worries among some Republicans that they lack a top-tier challenger to take on President Obama, and should do little to ease the pressure on GOP lights such as Palin and Perry to commit to a run.

Instead, like other conservatives, such as Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, McCotter seems to banking on making a splash in Iowa. He recently purchased a slot in the Ames Straw Poll, the traditional summer test of a candidate’s viability in the state, and should he enjoy some success there, he may have a springboard for going forward.

He’ll need something. McCotter’s name recognition nationally is next to nil. However, he is also known for playing a fairly fierce lead guitar. If worse comes to worse, he and Jon Huntsman, a demon rock keyboardist in his day, could form a touring band.

Here's an interview with McCotter from June.

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