Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign said he was going to be well-rested before Tuesday’s Bloomberg-Washington Post Republican debate — but they hadn’t warned that he’d sleep through half of it.Perry entered the Republican Presidential race two months ago to great fanfare, but after high-profile stumbles, he has quickly gone from leading the pack to also-ran.
Unlike the previous debates where he was thrust into the centre and slammed from all sides, Perry was insulted in perhaps the worst way in politics — he was ignored.
This debate was teed-up for Perry. It was about the economy — not about Social Security, Immigration, or racist rocks — yet he missed every opportunity presented to land a blow on Mitt Romney.
He seemed detached and irritated while on stage with his opponents, allowing candidates with no chance of winning the nomination (Newt Gingrich, for starters) to look almost presidential.
Over half of the people who were backing Perry last month have abandoned his campaign, and his performances have done little to give Republican voters reason to rethink their decision.
He spoke just twelve times, occupying little more than a handful of the debate’s 110 minutes — including his softball question to Mitt Romney (on how he responds to criticism of the Massachusetts health care law) that was summarily shoved back in his face.
Perry even allowed the debate moderators to open up a new front for assault from his fellow candidates — failing to prevent his signature Texas Enterprise Fund from being tied to the Obama administration’s controversial Solyndra loan program.
The one thing going for Perry is that he has money — over $15 million in the bank — ready to spend on negative ads, that he is unable to deliver on in person.
But unlike Romney whose problems lie in ideology, Perry has proven to be a fundamentally bad candidate. After four weak-to-terrible debate performances, GOP voters are already doubting he has what it takes — and it seems donors are sure to follow.
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