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As the Republican Party struggles to find a candidate with the best chance to beat Barack Obama in 2012, it faces a major problem: A proliferation of flawed, scandal-scarred candidates who — if successful — could doom the party’s changes of reclaiming the White House.
Capitol Hill Blue has learned that a confidential “loony list” is circulating among senior aides at the Republican National Committee as strategists huddle in closed-door meetings trying to figure out ways to weed out the problem candidates.
On the’ loony list’ are:
Herman Cain, the former Godfather’s CEO under fire for a past history of sexual harassment of female employees, along with a series of recent memory lapses and gaffes that showcase his lack of experience and political depth;
Rick Perry, the shoot-from-the-lip Texas Governor whose bumbling debate appearances and memory lapses have turned the one-time frontrunner into a late night comic joke;
Michele Bachmann, the bombastic Minnesota Congresswoman who considered too much of a loose cannon;
Texas Congressman Ron Paul, considered too extreme even for the right-wing of the GOP establishment.
Each of these candidates is considered “a threat to GOP chances against Obama,” says a senior GOP aide, who asked not to be identified.
“If any one of these folks get the nomination it means an end to our chances of beating Obama,” says the aide. “We need moderates and independents to win in November 2012. We can’t win if the GOP name on the ballot is named Cain, Perry, Bachmann, Gingrich or Paul.”
Senior GOP strategists believe Bachmann and Perry are “toast,” but still worry about Gingrich, Cain and Paul.
“Each has their base of zealots,” says a long-time GOP consultant. “Each could pull off an upset that means defeat a year from now. We can’t allow that.”