Sen. Jim DeMint, who bucked his party’s establishment in the 2010 cycle to support conservative Senate candidates in GOP primaries, said Sunday that he has “no plans to work against any incumbent Republicans” in 2012.
However, the South Carolina Republican had a word of caution for incumbents during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Any Member of the House or the Senate who doesn’t understand we need to balance our budget probably shouldn’t be there,” he said. “And certainly a presidential candidate who’s not willing to say we have to balance our budget should not be president of the United States.”
When host Candy Crowley challenged DeMint, saying he did not sound definitive about not recruiting candidates against fellow GOP lawmakers, DeMint chuckled and said, “I’m not real definite.”
DeMint added that he couldn’t think of any reason to enter the 2012 presidential race and that he was keeping an open mind about the GOP field. He identified balancing the budget as his only litmus test, and for that reason DeMint said he wouldn’t support Jon Huntsman. But he wouldn’t rule out or endorse any other candidates by name, saying, “I think you’re going to see a few strong ones come out of this field.”
“I think 2012 may be our last chance as a country to get this right,” he said. “I’m really convinced that four more years of Obama will destroy our economy.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.