Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Analyst: Rick Perry has Most at Stake in Today's Republican Presidential Debate

The final countdown?:
On the eve of Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate, Mitt Romney shopped for votes in a quaint country store and cast himself as a champion of the middle class. Jon Huntsman Jr. released his foreign policy agenda. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum journeyed from town to town searching for some spark to ignite their struggling campaigns.

But the candidate with perhaps the most at stake in the Washington Post-Bloomberg News debate at Dartmouth College was nowhere to be found. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was holed up somewhere — studying, rehearsing and hoping for a performance to breathe new life into a campaign beset by a series of unsteady debate performances in September.

While Perry was absent from the trail Monday, his campaign was affecting the discourse.

Even as Romney tried to look past his Republican rivals and train his attention on President Obama, a tough new Web video released Monday by Perry’s campaign served as a preview of what Romney is likely to face on the debate stage.

Perry’s video, “Romney’s Remedy,” was perhaps the harshest attack in the 2012 contest on Romney’s Massachusetts health-care law. Set to doomsday music, the video includes an endorsement of the plan by Democratic former president Jimmy Carter and a shout-out by Obama and it closes by adapting one of Obama’s 2008 campaign slogans for Romney: “Romney: change you can believe in?”

But that wasn’t all. Perry attacked Romney’s personal wealth, too, saying: “Even the richest man can’t buy back his past.” The video includes footage of the late NBC News star Tim Russert wielding a pair of flip flops to make the point that, over the course of his political career, Romney has changed his positions on several key issues.
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