State Reps. Sharon Cooper (R-east Cobb) and Judy Manning (R-Marietta) have both endorsed Gingrich.
“I don’t think anybody else can hold a candle to him as far as being able to go toe-to-toe with Obama,” Manning said. “I don’t believe anybody has more first-hand knowledge of the workings of the Congress and foreign affairs. I just believe he has the maturity to lead our country into the future.”
Manning believes Gingrich, if given the chance, can beat President Obama.
“But I think we’ve got so many people that are too interested in the personal lives of all of our elected officials that we can’t get past that to the point of who can do the job, and who can make the decisions, and who knows the politics involved, and who better than someone who has the experience,” Manning said.
By contrast, Manning believes Rick Santorum doesn’t have the seasoning to unseat Obama, and Mitt Romney concerns her.
“I think Mitt Romney is a nice man, but I’m afraid of his Mormon faith,” Manning said. “It’s better than a Muslim. Of course, every time you look at the TV these days you find an ad on there telling us how normal they are. So why do they have to put ads on the TV just to convince us that they’re normal if they are normal? … If the Mormon faith adhered to a past philosophy of pluralism, multi-wives, that doesn’t follow the Christian faith of one man and one woman, and that concerns me.”
Romney is also a flip-flopper, Manning said.
“When he was the governor of Massachusetts he performed 100 — and I’m not sure this number is right, but my mind says it’s about 180 gay marriages — and now, when he is running as president on the Republican ticket, he says that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Manning said.
Gingrich is a known quantity, she said.
“He doesn’t walk on water, and he’s made some mistakes, and there are things about probably each one of the candidates that I’d say are not perfect,” Manning said. “Nobody is. But when you look at the candidates all lined up, and the pros and the cons, I personally think Newt is the man that will lead us into the brightest future of the United States of America for everybody.”
But State Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth), who has not endorsed a candidate, doesn’t think Newt can unseat Obama.
“As articulate as he is, and I do think he would make a good president, I just think that unfortunately for Speaker Gingrich, he’s made some bad decisions that I think will jeopardize the Republican Party being able to put in a leader that can really move this nation in a right direction after 2012,” Setzler said.
Both Romney and Santorum could beat Obama, Setzler said.
“I think there are a number of candidates that can beat the president if they focus on what really matters to Americans,” Setzler said. “It’s getting us back on a track of a nation being anchored in individual responsibility and constitutionally limited government.”
State Rep. Sam Teasley (R-Marietta), who has endorsed Santorum, said the former Pennsylvania senator’s values make him the best choice to lead the country.
“Rick has led on issues that matter — from welfare reform and a balanced budget amendment, to understanding the value of the family in our culture and protecting innocent life, and to understanding the threats that our nation faces in a complex world,” Teasley said. “These aren’t just campaign slogans for him ... he’s lived this throughout his time in public life. That is why I am proud to endorse Rick Santorum.”
Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) hasn’t endorsed any one candidate, but likes aspects of all of them.
“I think what you’re seeing in Iowa is the Republicans, and I would even include myself in this category, who look at a Mitt Romney and say, ‘we really need a president with business sense like he has,’” Rogers said. “They look at a Newt Gingrich and say, ‘we really need a president with the intellect and the ability to communicate like he does.’ They look at Rick Santorum and they say, ‘we really need a president that passionately values the family the way he does,’ and they look at Ron Paul and they say, ‘we really need a president who values the Constitution the way he does.’”
The ideal situation would be to take the best characteristics from all of the above and combine them into one person, Rogers said.
“But we don’t have that, so I think that’s probably why you see the people rise and fall, because we recognize something we like in somebody, and all of a sudden everybody runs in that direction, and then they say ‘well,’ and they run in that direction, so I don’t know how this thing is going to turn out, but there are great aspects to each one of these candidates.”
The good news for Republicans is that Obama’s odds of re-election are not good, Rogers said.
“I would say less than 50 percent, and that’s just looking at historical data on where the economy is,” Rogers said. “That’s how most people vote. Doesn’t matter if it’s President Obama or President Jones or President Smith, no president who’s had this type of economic record has been reelected, so that does not bode well for the president.”