Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer will announce on Thursday that he is forming an exploratory committee for a possible 2012 presidential run, Politico reports.
The one-term governor, who switched from the Democratic party to the GOP midway through his term in 1991, has been largely inactive in politics since his gubernatorial re-election defeat in the early 1990s. (He also launched a failed gubernatorial campaign in 1995.) Still, he says, "I'd love to be president."
"I would settle for somebody better than me, but I haven't seen them out there," he told Politico.
The 67-year-old native of Shreveport, Lousiana, was once seen as a political up-and-comer akin to former President Bill Clinton and former Democratic Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus (the current secretary of the Navy), but his legacy as Louisiana governor is widely perceived as mixed.
"My approach has always been different, and it's always received skepticism from the homeboys here," he said.
Indeed, Roemer has pledged that if he runs, he won't accept more than $100 from any one donor in order to avoid being elected by special interests.
"You think I can get 4 million Americans to give me $100 each?" he asked Politico. "That's $400 million."
Roemer presented his potential presidential candidacy as a way to raise the bar among contenders.
"I should be president or somebody better than I should be," Roemer said. "And the only way to make sure of that is to make [my opponents] go around me, through me or over me in the primaries."
He also took issue with President Obama's proposed budget plan.
"As a banker, as a businessman, I thought I'd read President Obama's budget a couple of months ago. It was a mistake," he told Louisiana's News Star. "He's got a deficit every single year, smaller ones at first but three-quarters of a trillion dollars in the third year. By the 10th year the deficit is $1.4 trillion and the deficits are higher in the out years."
"The nation is hurting with nine percent unemployment, nine percent underemployment and five percent of the people who have quit looking for jobs, yet Washington is a boom town -- what's wrong with that picture?" he said to Politico.
If Roemer does decide to run, he's likely to present himself as the anti-establishment candidate.
"I'm going to be independent from the Big Money, Wall Street money, special interest money; that's going to be my mark in this campaign," he told Politico.