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GOP debate: The decline of Rick Perry continues

By SUSAN WALKER - Capitol Hill Blue Political Correspondent
September 23, 2011

GOP Presidential contenders Rick Perry (left) and Mitt Romney (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, Pool)

GOP presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Perry may be seeking a chance to oppose President Barack Obama in the 2012 election but first they must find a way to defeat each other, so they spent most of Thursday night’s debate in Orlando, Florida going after each other.

In a setting where style often supplants substance, Romney appeared more presidential and Perry once again spent most of the evening on the defensive and showing flashes of anger when pressured over his own words and actions.

The Texas governor blew a foreign policy question, missed opportunities to score points against Romney on conservatives lapses and played fast and loose with the facts on several occasions.

Perry often seemed unprepared, off-balance and uncomfortable.  He evaded a question on how he — as president — might handle a cal at 3 a.m. saying the Taliban had seized control of nuclear weapons from Pakistan.  Instead he offered a canned answer about “building relationships” and talked about India, leaving the clear impression that he did not have the slightest idea how to deal with a crisis.

How bad was he?  Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, commenting on Fox News after the debate, said Perry is “still the rookie in the field.”

Others agree.

“Rick Perry may be the cream of the crop in Texas but he’s already in over his head on the national level,” one veteran GOP operative tells Capitol Hill Blue.

A group of Republican voters polled by Capitol Hill Blue say Romney clearly won the debate.

“Perry looked like a deer caught in the headlights,” said Colleen Reddings of Louisville, KY.  “He did not look like a man who could handle being President.

“We already have too much inexperience in the White House,” said Paul Rawlings of Racine, WI.  “Rick Perry didn’t impress me.”

While other GOP candidates shared the stage Thursday night, the focus was on frontrunners Romney and Perry.  Most debate watchers doubt Perry will remain in the top two much longer.

 

 

 

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One Response to GOP debate: The decline of Rick Perry continues

  1. Danny Adams

    September 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    At this point I figure the Republicans’ best hope of winning in 2012 is going to be either Romney or Paul. Romney as a moderate, or Paul for changing the political system (though whether that change would be good or bad depends on your point of view). Either one might garner a lot of support from independents and undecideds.