The GOP Primary: Where Are They Now?

During the 2012 Republican primary, several candidates were criticized as unserious hustlers who cared less about America's problems than getting more famous into order to sell books — or get a Fox News contract like the one Herman Cain landed on Friday. Well, it's a year later. How did everyone do? 

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During the 2012 Republican primary, several candidates were criticized as unserious hustlers who cared less about America's big problems than getting more famous into order to sell books or get a good Fox News contract like the one Herman Cain landed today. Right after the primary campaign ended, Cain leveraged his post-primary fame into a radio show; during the primary campaign Newt Gingrich appeared to be on book tour. "Pat Buchanan perfected this process years ago," former Gingrich aide Rick Tyler told The New York Times. "Pat would go run for president and then get a better contract with CNN. Others picked up on it." It was a lesson that Mike Huckabee learned well after his failed 2008 primary bid. Well, it's a year later, and last year's Republican primary is a faded memory. How did everyone do?

Herman Cain

Known for: The singing pizza executive liked to tell women how tall they were compared to his wife.

Last seen: Literally singing his way out of the presidential campaign when the press asked him about allegations he sexually harassed women.

In the meantime: Created commentary the site

Now: Cain landed the big prize with his gig as a Fox News contributor. On the campaign trail, Cain demonstrated the perfect mix of catchy zingers and detail-free punditry that works so well on cable news. Since then, he's been practicing with his commentary site.

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Newt Gingrich

Known for: The animal lover impeached the president for infidelities while cheating on his wife with a woman who became famous for wearing her hair like a counterrevolutionary helmet.

Last seen: Staying in the race long past the expiration of the tiniest chance he'd win ("NEWT DEATH WATCH, DAY 47," Politico said); claimed "I would have probably done better" against Obama than Mitt Romney.

In the meantime: Sending out email newsletters promoting his wife's illustrated children's book, which features an elephant loosely based on Gingrich; accidentally getting a cameo in Parks and Recreation.

Now: It sure seemed like Gingrich was auditioning to be a CNN contributor, what with him going on about how the network was much less biased than Fox last year. Gingrich is making appearances on CNN, but it's not clear he has a contract yet.

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Tim Pawlenty

Known for: This man liked Sam's Club and poop jokes.

Last seen: Quitting the race after Michele Bachmann beat him in the August 2011 Iowa Straw Poll.

In the meantime: Pawlenty was the most dedicated Romney surrogate contending to be vice-president. He was not chosen.

Now: Pawlenty was named head of the lobbying group The Financial Services Roundtable in September. The job came with a $1.8 million salary.

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Rick Santorum

Known for: This knitwear enthusiast was deeply concerned with the sexual realm.

Last seen: Santorum was the unlikely level boss for Romney to beat before he won the nomination.

In the meantime: Santorum was an activist on several issues, including persuading Republican senators to vote against ratifying a treaty that would bring international law into line with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Now: World Net Daily columnist.

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Michele Bachmann

Known for: This vaccine-skeptic refused to make eye contact with cameras.

Last seen: Dropping out of the primary after finishing in sixth place in the Iowa caucuses.

In the meantime: Introducing yet another bill to kill Obamacare; almost abstaining from voting for John Boehner to be House Speaker before switching her vote to yea at the last minute.

Now: Still representing the people of Minnesota in Congress.

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Rick Perry

Known for: The Texan couldn't say three things in a row.

Last seen: Suspended his campaign after New Hampshire.

In the meantime: Posted photos of himself jogging and shooting guns on Twitter. Said the Boy Scouts of America shouldn't let gays be scout leaders.

Now: Kept his day job as governor of Texas; floating a 2014 run for governor and a 2016 run for president.

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Ron Paul

Known for: This elderly biking enthusiast loved gold and hated international interventions.

Last seen: Paul quit competing in primaries in May 2012. He didn't run for reelection for his Texas congressional seat.

In the meantime: Paul helped get veep buzz for his son, Rand.

Now: Courtside Entertainment Group announced that starting in March, Paul will do daily one-minute radio commentaries called Ron Paul's America.

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This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.