Perry hits the road

posted at 10:20 am on December 14, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Anyone who has watched the Republican debates knows Rick Perry’s most glaring vulnerability — including Rick Perry.  However, he has steadily improved and had a good debate on Saturday, and now he’s hitting the campaign trail in a big way in Iowa.  And rather than playing to his weakness, this plays right into Perry’s biggest strengths, as the National Journal reports:

Rick Perry has a reputation as a campaigner in Texas: He’s dangerous, but even more dangerous when he’s down. The next three weeks in Iowa will present him with the ultimate underdog challenge as he undertakes a last-ditch, massive effort to save his presidential bid.

Wednesday marks the beginning of a 14-day, 42-city bus tour that will see the Texas governor traverse the Hawkeye State, logging more than 1,000 miles as he strives to regain his standing among the top tier of candidates for the GOP nomination. …

His Iowa tour will begin in Council Bluffs, on the western edge of the state, and run in a semicircle across the northern half of Iowa heading east. After a leisurely break for Christmas — Perry has no events planned from the afternoon of the 22nd until the morning of the 27th — the tour will resume with a swing through the southern part of the state and snake back around to the center. Most days follow a pattern: two to four “meet-and-greets,” often at local restaurants or coffee shops, followed by a town hall meeting in the afternoon.

As he travels through the state, Perry will seek to build a coalition of evangelical and tea party voters, often attempting to pick off supporters from his rivals. He’s shown as much in the ads he’s run in the state targeting those specific groups. His fight for the Christian right, a key voting bloc during the Iowa caucuses, will put him in competition against Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

Assuming his back troubles are behind him (pardon the pun), Perry can be a force of nature in retail politics.  He got off to a good start in Iowa when he jumped into the race, but his immediate rise in national polls took his focus elsewhere.  Now with Iowa the only prize that Perry can reasonably grasp at the moment, he’s going all in — like Bachmann and Rick Santorum, the latter of whom has already visited all 99 counties and has built a surprisingly extensive organization.

Those will be his two main competitors for voters who won’t back either Gingrich or Romney, and of course Perry wants to split social conservatives and Tea Party activists away from Gingrich, if possible.  There is some evidence, although rather thin, that a Perry comeback has already begun.  The latest poll from the American Research Group shows Perry rising to fourth place, but more significantly, into double digits at 13%.  That’s a bounce upward of eight points since last month, trailing only Gingrich’s 19-point rise in the same period.  Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are just ahead of Perry at 17%, putting Perry within reach of a second-place finish.

If Perry can even get to second place in Iowa, it would be a stunning change of fortune and could restore credibility to his campaign.  With conservatives despairing at the prospect of a Gingrich-Romney contest, Perry could steal a march on the Right and find himself very much back in the mix — assuming that Ron Paul doesn’t beat him to it.


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Perry better own the debate tomorrow otherwise he’s up sh!t creek. No more time for vague energy or border talking points. He needs to argue what makes him conservative, why he can be trusted to govern as a conservative and how he plans to go to war with the administrative state to ensure limited government begins to flourish again. He must make his case articulately and concisely. The path to victory is there if he can drive his message through the bull flop that Romney and Gingrich will be shoveling. I hope he’s up to the challenge.

Spirit Crusher on December 14, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Spirit Crusher on December 14, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Nope. All he has to do is show up, sit back and watch Newt and Mitt destroy each other, then get back on the ground in Iowa asap. And he will be just fine.

kg598301 on December 14, 2011 at 9:04 PM

I have already voted in the HA/TH poll. I predict that Perry will win the vote in the poll with Gingrich coming in second. Lot’s of conservative readers at HA and TH and I believe that conservatives KNOW that Gingrich is not a conservative. Maybe more so than Romney, but that’s not worth much. But, unlike Romney, I’m not willing to bet $10,000 on it.

they lie on December 14, 2011 at 9:11 PM

I like Perry and think he’s the most conservative. I think he’ll be back up in the polls soon. I have been for him since he announced. I do not change my mind when the polls go up and down.

Take a look at NRO now. They are ganging up on Newt & Perry. They are not quite endorsing the RINO Romney.

carolt2 on December 14, 2011 at 9:12 PM

Rick Perry was my pick from the begining.

maverickxt on December 14, 2011 at 9:19 PM

cozmo on December 14, 2011 at 8:09 PM

;)

Aslans Girl on December 14, 2011 at 9:33 PM

Rapunzel on December 14, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Aw, thanks for the story of Perry’s lab having puppies! So cute! There was an article last month or so that reported that Perry’s tie had little doxies all over it… he’s a man after my own heart with his love of animals. One way to judge character is knowing how a person treats the helpless among us — babies, the elderly, their pets, etc.

Aslans Girl on December 14, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Aslans Girl on December 14, 2011 at 9:33 PM

Honey, I need the whole quote. When I’m in one of these moods, I cannot remember what I wrote 3 minutes ago. You expect me to remember something from an hour and a half earlier?

cozmo on December 14, 2011 at 9:39 PM

cozmo on December 14, 2011 at 9:39 PM

I was referring to your “Perry is TX toast” post, which I know was tongue-in-cheek ;)

Aslans Girl on December 14, 2011 at 9:44 PM

How many OFA trolls did they let in today?

lonestar1 on December 14, 2011 at 10:06 PM

Aslans Girl on December 14, 2011 at 9:39 PM

He always includes his pets in the family Christmas Cards. He gets bonus points for that!

lonestar1 on December 14, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Go RIck! Go! I am loyal too, don’t care about polls. Only votes count.

southernms on December 14, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Rapunzel on December 14, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Aw, thanks for the story of Perry’s lab having puppies! So cute! There was an article last month or so that reported that Perry’s tie had little doxies all over it… he’s a man after my own heart with his love of animals. One way to judge character is knowing how a person treats the helpless among us — babies, the elderly, their pets, etc.

Aslans Girl on December 14, 2011 at 9:39 PM

It is one reason I so strongly support Perry. I don’t trust people who don’t like animals or treat them like Romney treated his, and when someone gets teary over their beloved Lab having puppies then that is the man I trust and want to lead our country. At least we’ll know his dogs won’t be for brownie points. I just hope people get their heads out of their dark side and get behind Perry before it is too late.

Watching Rush right now on Greta and he is calling it… what the heck is this voting for the moderate in our party “because people tell us we have to for the Independents.” We need a return to a true conservative, Perry is that man.

Rapunzel on December 14, 2011 at 10:34 PM

Perry better own the debate tomorrow otherwise he’s up sh!t creek. No more time for vague energy or border talking points. He needs to argue what makes him conservative, why he can be trusted to govern as a conservative and how he plans to go to war with the administrative state to ensure limited government begins to flourish again. He must make his case articulately and concisely. The path to victory is there if he can drive his message through the bull flop that Romney and Gingrich will be shoveling. I hope he’s up to the challenge.

Spirit Crusher on December 14, 2011 at 8:59 PM

It will depend on whether they call on him tomorrow night, don’t underestimate how much Fox is in the tank for Newt or Romney.

Rapunzel on December 14, 2011 at 10:35 PM

he has steadily improved and had a good debate on Saturday

Would this be the (most recent) debate where Perry couldn’t count to three?

I wanted Perry to do well, I wanted to support him, but we need someone who can hold their own in debates AND interviews. Gingrich may not be the perfect conservative, but he at least knows how to advance the conservative agenda; he teaches conservatism in these debates.

mockmook on December 14, 2011 at 11:40 PM

I wanted Perry to do well, I wanted to support him, but we need someone who can hold their own in debates AND interviews. Gingrich may not be the perfect conservative, but he at least knows how to advance the conservative agenda; he teaches conservatism in these debates.
mockmook on December 14, 2011 at 11:40 PM

And what makes you think obama would even debate Newt, if he was the nominee.
Sounds to me like you want obama.
Just remember, the republican nominee is not going to get the kid gloves treatment obama got in debates or gets in interviews.

lonestar1 on December 15, 2011 at 12:48 AM

Hope for Perry!

tacodawn on December 15, 2011 at 2:51 AM

I LIKE HIM, BUT HE IS A HORRIBLE COMMUNICATOR

lol. I love irony.

cptacek on December 15, 2011 at 11:47 AM

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