Rick Perry played it a little safer on the campaign trail in New Hampshire Wednesday, admitting he "got lectured" for his remark that Federal Reserve chair Ben Barnanke's actions were "treasonous," Bloomberg's Lisa Lerer reports. He was a "calmer, quieter" candidate, and, "after days of dominating the headlines, Perry's major goal in New Hampshire seemed not to make any," Lerer writes. The New York Times' Ashley Parker found him "a far more subdued and measured campaigner." The Boston Globe's Joan Vennochi says Perry "showed he is off to a serious start" by toning down his Texas swag. But switching from cowboy boots to topsiders might not be enough to distract voters from his not-so-moderate record.
- In 2002, running for his first full term as governor, Perry won by 18 points--better than the statewide Republican average of 15 points.
- In 2006, he beat his nearest rival by 9 points, a smaller margin than Republicans' average statewide of 15 points.
- In 2010, Perry won by 13 points, far less than Texas Republicans' average of 27 points.
Most other candidates who have won their party’s nomination have at least one such overachieving performance. Barack Obama won election to the United States Senate in 2004 with an overwhelming 43-point margin, albeit against a very weak opponent. George W. Bush was elected Texas governor by 37 points in 1998. Bill Clinton ran for governor of Arkansas six times, losing once, but winning on three other occasions by at least 25 percentage points. Ronald Reagan defeated Pat Brown, the Democratic incumbent governor of California, by 15-point margin in 1966; although California was not as blue then as it is today, it is fairly rare to defeat an incumbent governor by that margin under any circumstances. Lyndon Johnson won his three Senate terms by an average of 40 points. Results like these are more the hallmark of having a mass-market brand.