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NPR Job 1 Series

  • The former House speaker began his career as a history professor at West Georgia College. "He thought he could have some kind of impact, to get kids to think," says a friend and former colleague. "But he really wanted to get into politics."
  • Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he learned to run a lean campaign from a former Pennsylvania state senator's wife. Now he's employing those skills in Iowa, hoping to stun the political establishment with a surprise win in January.
  • When he set up shop in 1968, Ron Paul, the GOP presidential candidate known primarily for his opposition to armed intervention overseas and the Federal Reserve, was the only obstetrician in town. His former partner recalls he had two stipulations: No. 1, no abortions; and No. 2, he refused to participate in any federal health programs.
  • Perhaps more than any other Republican running for president this year, Michele Bachmann has railed against taxes. She says they're too high, and that the current tax code should be repealed. She also worked for the IRS office in St. Paul, Minn., for more than four years as a prosecutor. "The first rule of war," she says, "is know your enemy."
  • Herman Cain is the only Republican presidential contender who's never held political office. Critics say that could be a disadvantage. Cain and his supporters say his business experience is an asset.
  • Before GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman served as governor of Utah, a corporate executive, and U.S. ambassador to China, he had another youthful calling: Huntsman was a rock 'n' roll musician in a band called Wizard.
  • Before he was elected governor of Texas, or to any of a series of positions going back more than 25 years, Perry grew cotton and raised cattle on land that his family had worked since the late 1800s. In every campaign, he has run as a man shaped by that experience. But real life on the farm was far less romantic.
  • The job Romney talks about most on the campaign trail is his leadership of Bain Capital. His supporters say that's where he learned to solve big problems, create jobs and expand companies. His opponents say he made money by shutting down factories, occasionally driving companies into bankruptcy.