Maybe a West coast jaunt through friendly territory was what Obama needed to get his confidence back. On Sunday, at a California fundraiser, the president just realized that Rick Perry makes for a very easy target. "I mean, has anybody been watching the debates lately?" Obama remarked to a crowd full of donors, as ABC News transcribed from a pool report. He then skewered the Texas governor's candidacy in one line, almost as well as Alec Baldwin did on SNL this weekend: "You've got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change."

The president, on a roll, continued this fire-up-the-base tack at other events. In what Mark Halperin clinically deemed "combative messaging," he unveiled a campaign-ready line fit for October of 2012 in Seattle. Republicans, he said, offer "an approach to government that will fundamentally cripple America in meeting the challenges of the 21st century." We can only imagine what he'll say in Los Angeles at a fundraiser at the House of Blues on Monday. Especially since Rick Perry isn't likely to let a chance to jump into rhetorical fist-fight slide.