WASHINGTON Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer said on Wednesday he plans to take a step toward a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and campaign against business-as-usual in Washington.
Roemer is to hold a news conference on Thursday in Baton Rouge at the bank where he is president, Business First Bank, to announce a presidential "exploratory" committee.
Roemer, 67, would be a long-shot candidate for the nomination but his arguments might help develop the party's debate over who the Republican candidate should be to face President Barack Obama in 2012.
"I think the president of the United States, whoever he or she is, has to be free to do the right thing and I believe Washington has become a place that is designed to raise money and channel it to the politicians," he told Reuters in a telephone interview.
He cited the power in Washington that big banks, pharmaceutical and insurance companies, Wall Street and tort lawyers have in developing legislation.
"Listen to this: The nation is hurting and Washington, D.C., is a boom town. What does that tell you?"
Roemer was a Democrat until he switched parties in 1991. He was Louisiana governor from 1988 to 1992 and before that served as a U.S. congressman.
"I'm not Mr. Know-it-All, but I plan on being in Iowa and going to New Hampshire and South Carolina and eventually across the country, talking about some solutions to a nation that has some problems," he said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Jackie Frank)