Texas toast? Perry worries GOP[img]http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/GWZZhu1XnZFr5zvraioffg--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9Zml0O2g9Mjc-/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/logo/politico/politico_logo_108.jpg[/img]By Jonathan Martin, James Hohmann | Politico – 13 hrs ago<p class="yom-mod social-buttons" id="yui_3_3_0_6_1316821611705146">
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Texas Governor Rick Perry (L) shakes hands with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt …
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ORLANDO – The first line of Rick Perry
’s campaign obituary may have been drafted Thursday night: He got in too late.
It’s not quite time for his camp to panic but in his third debate
in a month – nearly as many as he’s done in the entire decade he’s served as Texas governor – Perry demonstrated why so few presidential candidates who parachute into the race mid-campaign win the nomination.
Perry gave a foreign policy answer
that offered no indication he’s thought about how to respond to threats against America, twice bobbled attacks on Mitt Romney
’s well-documented departures from conservative orthodoxy, called immigration hard-liners heartless and, in what was otherwise his best answer of the evening, stretched the truth in the course of delivering a well-rehearsed line about why he mandated pre-teen girls to be vaccinated against HPV.
A more seasoned candidate would be better informed on national security policy, fluent to the point of knowing by heart his chief opponent’s core vulnerabilities, and would never offend his party’s base with such a pointed attack. And a more sure-footed one would have recognized that he couldn’t get away with the claim that he issued an executive order on HPV after being “lobbied” by a cancer victim—because it has been publicly established that he met the victim only after he made the decision.
Instead, after a roaring August start, Perry’s second consecutive lackluster debate performance will reinforce the growing view among some Republicans that he’s not ready for the big leagues.
As conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer
said on Fox News following the debate: “He’s still the rookie in the field.”
Equally threatening to the Texas governor, his stumbling appearances on national television have come as his on-the-fly campaign attempts to quickly build an organization and raise money ahead of the third-quarter deadline at the end of the month.
Grumbling has already begun about Perry’s operation and how they’ve not been prepared to handle the zero-to-frontrunner demands on the campaign.
One leading Republican said he’s given names of individuals – donors, former state party chairs — who want to be helpful to the campaign and that they’ve never gotten a phone call.
Recognizing the frustration, the National Committeewoman from Texas, Borah Van Dormolen, sent a blast email to fellow RNC members this week.
“I have received numerous calls requesting information on how to contact the Perry for President campaign team,” Van Dormolen wrote, including the email address for where to send the governor an invitation to appear at an event and the address of his finance director for those who want to help him raise money.
The upside of these growing pains, of course, is they reflect a campaign besieged with supporters. And, as Perry officials correctly note, it’s still early in the campaign—a contest that the governor only joined six weeks ago.
But it’s in part because he rocketed to the top of the field so quickly after getting in, creating such high expectations, that he’s now being damaged by sub-par debate showings.
In short, Perry’s command of the stage hasn’t matched his exalted status.