Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer said Monday his presidential campaign in South Carolina "is not as healthy as it ought to be," and he was unsure whether it will pay the $35,000 filing fee due today to get on the state's Jan. 21 primary ballot.
Having limited himself to taking no more than $100 from any donor, Roemer said he has raised only $250,000 and is focusing on New Hampshire in hopes that a good showing there will kick his campaign into a higher gear.
He said if he isn't on South Carolina's GOP ballot, he might try to run here as an independent in November.
Roemer spoke just after appearing at the College of Charleston's Bully Pulpit series. About 40 people attended and asked him about tax reform, amending the nation's campaign finance laws and how he would communicate as president.
Roemer criticized the size of the national debt and its recent deficits, its trade imbalance and its lack of an industrial or energy policy.
"Federal spending is out of control by any measure," he said. "We're Greece on steroids."
Roemer said the real issue in the campaign is the "institutional corruption" involved in politicians seeking money. He noted the nation's tax laws are drafted by lobbyists and that General Electric was able to avoid paying any U.S. taxes last year on $5.4 billion because it could deduct foreign taxes paid.
"You pay more taxes as a student with a part-time job than GE paid," he said. "Washington, D.C., is a scam. I call it the capital of corruption."
Roemer said he favors changing federal election laws to require reporting within 48 hours and for criminal prosecution for those who break the rules.
If elected, Roemer said his communication style would emphasize listening and working in a bipartisan way, through poker games, for instance.
Roemer declined to comment on allegations that his fellow GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain engaged in inappropriate behavior with two female employees of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
Roemer said he had not heard of the story, which was first reported by Politico this weekend.
"Let's get the facts," he said. "I hope that's wrong."
If you go
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman will be the next GOP presidential hopeful to appear in the College of Charleston's Bully Pulpit series. He is scheduled to appear at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Randolph Hall. These forums are free and open to the public.