How Obama could help Perry against Romney

In the midst of his controversial comments last week, Perry was hammered mercilessly by every liberal under the sun—except one. “I think that everybody who runs for president, it probably takes them a little bit of time before they start realizing that … you’ve got to be a little more careful about what you say,” President Obama told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “But I’ll cut [Perry] some slack. He’s only been at it for a few days now.”

It’s no secret that the White House would prefer to run next fall against the likes of Perry (or, perish the thought, Bachmann) than Romney, the easier to paint Obama’s opponent as unacceptably outré and even scary. Less appreciated is how significant a player Obama’s reelection team—along with its allied outside groups—may be in the Republican primaries. By spending millions of dollars on anti-Romney ads and pointing out the similarities of his Massachusetts health-care plan to Obamacare at every opportunity, they may be able to function effectively as a pro-Perry “super pac”—and one with greater resources and media reach than anything Perry and his allies can muster. The irony here would be rich, for sure, and the effect bordering on perverse. But don’t kid yourself: The possibility of things playing out just this way is one of many nightmares that keep Romney’s advisers awake at night.