The Wall Street Journal:
Gov. Paul LePage, a Maine Republican, said Saturday that the GOP presidential candidates are too “injured’’ by nomination fight and that the party would do better to pick a “fresh face’’ at its national convention in Tampa, Fla.
Mr. LePage, speaking to reporters at a National Governors Association conference, said that the four presidential hopefuls have violated former President Ronald Reagan’s maxim that Republicans should not speak ill of one another.
“It’s been too messy, and I just believe that we ought to go to the convention and pick a fresh face,’’ said Mr. LePage, who was sworn in as governor in January 2011.
He added: “They’ve gone after each other, and I think that the country deserves better than having people stand up and keep criticizing each other.’’
Asked if any of the candidates could beat President Obama in the fall, Mr. LePage sighed and said: “I don’t make predictions; I don’t know. Five dollar gasoline ought to defeat Obama.’’
Mr. LePage said he did not have a specific Republican in mind as an alternative to the four Republicans in the field: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.
He said the debates — 20 in all — were so contentious that the party needs to look elsewhere for a viable nominee.
“The debates were just too messy,’’ Mr. LePage said. “Too nasty, too messy. They weren’t on the issues, and I believe a fresh face now that has a good vision for the American dream would really resonate in my mind.’’