Look at this guy! Could the kind of guy who'd so lovingly cuddle such an adorable tiny baby puppy really want to dismantle Social Security? Could a man so completely trusted by an innocent little pup really have mandated tweens get vaccinated for an STD? Poor Rick Perry. This heart-melting Twitter photo, now the avatar on Perry's personal account, is the best thing he's got going for him right now.
The Dallas Morning News' Wayne Slater reports, "Perry and his top aides are hunkered down this week trying to figure out how to right the ship." Perry's first two debate performances weren't great, but last week's was really bad--inexcusably bad, Republican strategist Mark McKinnon writes for The Daily Beast. Some conservatives are practically begging Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey to get in the race, even though he's said many times that he's not ready. "Perry can recover, but he has wasted some huge opportunities, making it a lot harder on himself and his campaign than it should have been," McKinnon writes. "He's raised a lot of concern among Republicans about whether he is up to the job. He's started new conversations about Chris Christie and Sarah Palin," and given an opening to other rivals in Iowa. Perry how faces a lot of people with post-debate problems.
Skeptical South Carolina supporters CNN's Peter Hamby reports that on Monday, Perry hosted two "tele-town halls" with activists in South Carolina and Iowa. Perry's South Carolina campaign chairman, Katon Dawson, told CNN it was "a general rally-the-troops call." But an anonymous source on the line saw it differently. "I was struck by the fact that he started out on defense instead of offense," the source told CNN, adding, "the things he talked about are defending his positions on immigration, Social Security and HPV, that is telling to me."
Anti-immigration types in Iowa Immigration is a problem for Perry in Iowa, too--a state that was thought to be where he was stronger, the Los Angeles Times' Michael Finnegan reports. Since 1990, the Latino population in Iowa has grown from 33,000 to 152,000, and the issue is a big concern there. Bill Salier, a former U.S. Senate candidate, told Finnegan that Perry was unconvincing when he explained why he supported a Texas law giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants: that he was "sending a message to young people, regardless of what the sound of their last name is, that we believe in you." Salier says, "The left uses that lingo to hype people up... That turned a lot of people off right there."
Friends from back home Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst wasn't helping Perry at all when he told WFAA's Brad Watson that he wouldn't have supported giving illegal immigrants instate tuition. Dewhurst is running for Senate and said because he thinks it's unfair, "I would not have signed that law."
But a bright spot: Money Slater reports that on Friday, Perry might be able to release some good news. That's the filing deadline for quarterly fundraising reports, and "the Perry camp" told Slater they raised $20 million in just three days. The campaign has a whole three weeks to get ready for the next one, hosted by Bloomberg on October 11; before then, Slater reports that they want to be able to release some good news on Friday. They're also working on an economic recovery plan to compete with Mitt Romney's 160-page proposal. But right now, the campaign only has a dozen pages, Slater says, with staffers working "to add some weight to it." They'll want to add some weight to Perry's debate responses, too. And if that fails, he could try bringing that puppy on stage.