The first Republican to officially announce for the 2012 presidential race pledged to promote a pro-gay, pro-choice agenda.
But the first Republican to officially announce his bid for the GOP nomination is not first with many primary voters.
That first GOP candidate is Fred Karger. He is openly gay and served as an adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He is not raising big money. He is not courting Tea Partiers. He is not being included in the debates. And he was not on the ballot for the Iowa Straw Poll on Aug. 13 on the Iowa State University campus in Ames.
Karger is on a different track than others racing for the party’s nomination.
“I want to be a different kind of Republican,” Karger told CBS News earlier this year. “The kind of Republican I grew up with. I consider myself to be progressive. The last progressive Republican president was over 100 years ago – Theodore Roosevelt.”
In his announcement statement, delivered with a “Fred Who?” banner in the background, Karger said, “I will work tirelessly to bring back the spirit in every man, woman and child to help remake America the land of opportunity and equality for all.”
His platform, he said, includes repealing the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, finding a cure for HIV/AIDS and making “gay marriage the law of the land.”