Want Reagan? Try John Cox

Republican voters dissatisfied with the current crop of Reagan wannabes ought to check out the only GOP candidate barred from this week's South Carolina debate hosted by Fox -- John Cox. That's because while the other candidates used the first debate to claim they were closest to Reagan, Cox tells us he's the real McCoy.

"Ronald Reagan was from Illinois, and I'm from Illinois, too." And it doesn't end there: Cox, a lawyer-businessman who was also chairman of the Cook County Republicans, hates taxes and wants major reform and elimination of the IRS. "I'm a manager," he said in an interview done a year ago. "I think this is the year for outsiders, a fresh face," he added.

Well, apparently the debate organizers don't think so, at least not his face. He's been barred from the debate because he doesn't have the needed 1 percent recognition in national polls. He claims that's because pollsters never include him.

So on Tuesday, before the event, he's going to the debate site to demand that all the other GOP candidates stand with him for fairness and let him in to debate. After all, he has landed a spot on the South Carolina ballot, so shouldn't voters be given a chance to hear his views?

By Paul Bedard