The Best of Andy Rooney

I'd like to tell everyone reading my column today that you have about 530 days until the presidential election of 2012. So please make sure you use the time carefully. And, if you're thinking of running for the presidency, you must file a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission using Form 2. Don't use Form 3 or you could be in trouble! As I tell you this, there are already more than 135 presidential candidates on the Federal Election Commission list of filers.

Looking at the list, I recognize some of the names, like Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rutherford Bert Hayes. Hayes? Wasn't he elected President in 1877?

There are some names I recognize as presidential hopefuls, but there are a lot of names that I don't recognize. For example, who is HRM Caesar St. Augustine De Buonaparte, or somebody who calls himself The Impaler? Can you imagine asking someone called "The Impaler" to discuss his views on deficit spending or how the crisis in the Middle East could be resolved?

I see two people with the last name of Jones, a Rickey and a Ronald. There are two men with the last name of Lee, a Kip and a Robert. There are two men with the name Carroll, a James and a Jerry. And there are two men with the last name of David, a Jeff and an L. John. There are two people with the last name of Bush, a Savannah and a Tanner. I wonder if these Bushes are related to George H. W. or George W. Bush? I can't tell for sure from the list if any women are running. I think it's high time we have a woman president in this country.

To tell you the truth, I think most Americans think it's just too early for anyone to be declaring his or her intention to run for President. It seems that as soon as presidents are elected, they're thinking of ways to raise money for their re-election. I understand the candidates have to raise a lot of money to finance their campaigns...billions, maybe, for the election in 2012.

I read a figure somewhere that President Obama's campaign spent something like $500 million dollars to get him elected in 2008. The President commenced his 2012 campaign for re-election in April. The earlier he makes the announcement, the more time he has to raise money for the 2012 run.

The incumbent President has to sort of step out of his role as our dignified leader and become a salesman...that's of himself, of course. How demeaning is this for President Obama or any president to be trying to fix all the problems in the country one day and a few days later solicit money for his campaign at a businessman's luncheon?

How can the candidates be honest with the American people while they're asking us for money? I think we need a cheaper and more dignified way for politicians to get elected. There, I said what everyone else is thinking and I'm glad.

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