Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer enjoys his role as an underdog within the crowded field of Republican presidential candidates.
On Thursday afternoon, Roemer told members of the Portsmouth Rotary Club at the Portsmouth Country Club in Greenland that he is "free to lead" America as president because he is not controlled by special interest PACs like many of the other candidates.
Specifically, Roemer said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have accepted millions of dollars in special interest money for their campaigns from so-called super PACs.
"Where do Rick Perry and Mitt Romney get their money? The special interests, and I've had enough," said Roemer, a former Democrat who served as Louisiana's governor from 1988 to 1992.
Roemer said the fact that he doesn't accept large sums of money from special interests allows him to be true to his campaign slogan, "Free to lead." That freedom would enable him to make the toughest decisions that need to be made to help Americans get back to work and repair the nation's economy, he said.
"We're the only campaign that pays its bills," Roemer said. "We're the only campaign that doesn't owe any money."
If elected president, Roemer said he would work to level the trade playing field with China so U.S. manufacturers could compete better than they can now.
"I would demand fair trade, or they can take their money and shove it," Roemer said.
He would also get rid of all energy subsidies and the U.S. Department of Energy. Another area where money could be saved would be to consolidate all of the IT communications in the federal government and leverage technology so that when federal workers retire, the U.S. government doesn't need to hire as many new workers to do the same job.
He also said he would get rid of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which he believes would lower mortgage interest rates and make homes more affordable again.
"We will raise Social Security retirement age by one month per year for 24 years," said Roemer.
On Medicare reform, Roemer said he would make the program more competitive by forcing insurance companies to compete across state lines. "Insurance companies will compete and the best will survive," he said, adding that the same would be true for pharmaceutical companies.
Tort reform would be another way that Roemer said he would lower health care costs.
"We did in Louisiana, and we lowered health care costs by 15 percent," he said.