Still trailing in the polls, Rick Perry nevertheless also still has plenty of campaign cash — and has lately begun to spend some of it on a string of ads to invite Iowa voters to remember his initial appeal. The first two videos focused firmly on jobs and the economy. In his latest spot, the Texas governor pivots from those crucial election issues to a warm re-telling of his personal story. It’s a conspicuous attempt to remind Iowans that Perry is a “family values” kind of guy. In fact, that’s even the name of the ad — “Values.”
Mr. Perry could have an opening to re-establish himself as the conservative voter’s alternative to Mitt Romney as GOP rival Herman Cain continues to face allegations of sexual harassment – and how he responded to them.
Early in her campaign, Michele Bachmann achieved frontrunner status in Iowa with a spate of similarly warm and personal ads, a similarly values-focused campaign message. Her popularity didn’t last past the Ames, Iowa, straw poll — but that doesn’t mean Iowans won’t respond to Perry’s new positivity. He’ll have to keep it up with more than just ads, though:
When candidates gather Wednesday night in Michigan for the latest presidential debate, it will be interesting to watch if viewers get the positive Mr. Perry of Iowa, or the attack dog of debates past.
Then again, while conservatives still seem committed to “anybody but Romney” and have signaled a certain reluctant willingness to reconsider candidates, they don’t seem particularly eager to reevaluate previous frontrunners. Unfortunately, that leaves few options: They can cling to Cain or turn their attention to the only conservative candidates yet to have their time at the top — Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Nothing lost by a little reconsideration.