After Rick Perry’s sophomoric attack on Mitt Romney’s credibility on illegal immigration at last night’s presidential debate, which was a ploy to draw attention away from his own liberal stance on illegals, I’m sharing some of today’s commentary on Perry.
And, it all leads up to an attention-getting new website from Romney for President…
Romney’s patience and endurance was tested to the limit as he was subjected to a series of vicious attacks on immigration, health care and jobs policy. But Romney, who has emerged this year as one of the most polished and able political debaters in recent memory, ended the evening still on his feet without any of the others able to say they had floored him.
The nastiest attack came from Rick Perry, who seemed to be a different man than the sleepy and unfocused performer in four previous debates. Perry was much improved over his previous tries, but that is not the same thing as saying he helped himself all that much. Perry’s aggression was certainly what his team wanted to see, but he overreached when he repeated a smear about Romney personally hiring illegal aliens. That charge fell flat in the face of Romney’s explanation, and it didn’t help that Perry kept repeating it. It was an obvious attempt on Perry’s part to distract conservatives from his more liberal stands on illegal immigration. It’s doubtful many bought it.
Later in the debate, we were reminded of Perry’s previous debate problems when he attempted to make a point about the United Nations and its role in facilitating Palestinian efforts to evade the peace process. Perry knew what he wanted to say but couldn’t quite spit it out and wound up sputtering when he could have made a strong argument. Even at his best, and this was the best we’ve seen of him, Perry still doesn’t sound presidential or that focused. He may get a bump in the polls, but it’s unlikely he’ll ever retrieve the lead he lost last month.
This evening was feistier than the previous debates and rougher sledding in many ways for Romney. But it merely confirmed the same conclusion: despite the fireworks, this race is still Romney’s to lose.
National Review Online – Kathryn Jean Lopez:
Governor Romney showed some of the passion Tuesday night I think people have been hoping to see. And smart to even get a little legitimately testy with a smile. He took command of the stage on more than one occasion.
He also had to further defend his health-care plan and made some headway.
And he may have benefitted from some low blows and pettiness along the way. (Perry on the lawn issue was low. Gingrich mandate issue was petty.)
Pat Gray, radio commentator (filling in for Glenn Beck, begins @1:14):
Romney gives Perry a debate beatdown
… Whoever is advising Rick Perry should be fired for encouraging Perry to take on Romney over illegal immigration. Perry dug up the same claim from the 2008 campaign – the one that was thoroughly examined and dismissed. Perry doubled down on his mistake by trying to interrupt Romney as he explained it (again) — and looked terrible in the process. Check out the clip and reaction on radio today.
“Another win; I mean, another Romney win. He just beat him [Perry] senseless. Rick – just a piece of advice: Shut up about immigration, ‘k?” – Pat Gray
There’s a lot of focus online and in the post-debate shows on the immigration exchanges, but Governor Perry’s decision to throw the old and discredited lawn care company charge against Governor Romney seems at best an odd choice, and one that simply will not go down well with GOP voters used to seeing such attacks peddled by the MSM. What that specific attack did do is create enough heat to leave the definite impression that there are really only two choices on the stage. It was the most fiery exchange of the evening, and the one that has already replayed and replayed across the screen. A Romney-Perry moment like that makes it a Romney-Perry debate which in turns defines it as a Romney-Perry campaign.
The second tier of candidates made a huge miscalculation in turning their fire on Romney before dispatching Perry completely from the field. Rick Santorum, especially, seemed to believe that his long-shot path went straight through Romney when there are in fact two obstacles before him in the persons of Herman Cain and Rick Perry. The former Pennsylvania senator chose to turn his fire on Romney and not Perry and ended up with Perry walking off the stage with a second lease on a campaign.
Forbes – E.D. Kain:
In Vegas Debate Perry Take the Gloves Off but Romney is Still King
Last night’s CNN GOP debate in Las Vegas has been widely described as the most heated of the debates so far, and the gloves really came off when Texas governor Rick Perry accused Mitt Romney of hiring undocumented workers – illegals, as he put it – in the past and then interrupted Romney several times instead of allowing him to finish.
Romney … easily deflected Perry’s aggression, turning it back on him and chuckling the whole time. Romney is practically dancing on the grave of Rick Perry’s presidential ambitions[.] …
(emphasis added )
I was pleased to see Romney for President release a new website, CareerPolitician.com, in an effort to provide voters with the facts about Rick Perry’s record as a career politician. Voters can access this website to find Governor Perry’s support for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, his proposal that would dismantle Social Security, his real record on job creation, and his history of distorting facts during the short time he has been in the Republican Primary.
The ad that illustrated Rick Perry’s inability to string a couple complete sentences together without a teleprompter was pulled due to a copyright claim by CNN, but you can still see much of it in the following Morning Joe clip:
Spin from Ray Sullivan, Perry’s communications director:
But Ray Sullivan, Perry’s communications director, said the Texas governor wasn’t too aggressive in his attacks against Romney, adding that “I think the governor spoke from the heart.”
“These debates are set up to be lively. This was a lively one. The governor is passionate about his record and passionate about calling folks every now and then on their records,” added Sullivan.
Asked if Perry was presidential in his approach at the debate, Sullivan said “I think he was Rick Perry in his approach and that’s a good thing for us.”
Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney advisor:
I think Rick Perry had a strategy coming into this debate to kill Mitt, and he ended up killing himself. I say that based that on the audience reaction,” said top Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom.
“I think what they saw in Rick Perry was very desperate candidate, someone who revived a candidacy that is sinking beneath the waves. So he came armed with negative attacks and personal cheap shots that were booed by the audience at every turn,” added Fehrnstrom.
BBC News – US and Canada
Everyone wants to take on Mitt but no-one can beat him. Romney comes on strong, holding his attackers close and thudding into them relentlessly. He forced Gingrich to back down over allegations about healthcare, roughed up Santorum, and gave Cain something of a beating.
But it was Perry that he may have bruised the most. Perry claimed that Romney had hired illegal immigrants and had not told the American people the truth about it. Perry over-stretched himself by this accusation and the audience didn’t like it. He was hesitant from time to time and this performance isn’t going to help him at all.
► Jayde Wyatt