At first glance, the Texas governor looks likely to rain most on Michele Bachmann’s parade by out-evangelizing her with the Religious Right and setting a high bar, as he did in her Iowa hometown, for practicing local politics as a contact sport.
But Rick Perry’s well-financed campaign is going after Mitt Romney, too with a jab at him today in Des Moines, “Take a look at his record when he was governor...Running a state is different than running a business.”
In Waterloo yesterday, Politico reports, Perry arrived early, “working his way across the room to sit at table after table, shake hand after hand, pose for photographs and listen politely to a windy Abraham Lincoln impersonator, paying respect to a state that expects candidates, no matter their fame, to be accessible.
“But Bachmann campaigned like a celebrity. And the event highlighted the brittle, presidential-style cocoon that has become her campaign’s signature: a routine of late entries, unexplained absences, quick exits, sharp-elbowed handlers with matching lapel pins, and pre-selected questioners.”
As he goes after his top two opponents, Perry will undoubtedly be matched up with Ron Paul in a weird ideas contest by reporters who mine his record and writings in which he complains that practically everything is unconstitutional, but the Texan brings to the Republican race something unseen since the days of George W. Bush.
Can anyone imagine sitting down with Bachmann, Romney or Paul for a beer? Perry looks like he could easily outdo any of them in that department.
Update: Romney chooses not to fire back at Perry, saying only, “I’ve learned how the economy works and I believe that skill is what the nation is looking for. And I respect the other people in this race, but I think the only other person who has that kind of extensive private-sector experience besides me in the Republican race is Herman Cain.”
If Romney thinks he can hold off Perry by staying above the fray, he is making a crucial mistake. He is going to be in a knife fight, and it won’t be with Herman Cain.
Update 2: Beer buddy or not, Perry is taking flak from Bush’s old team in a renewal of an old rivalry.
Karl Rove is blasting W’s Texas successor with a rocket saying “you don’t accuse the chairman of the Federal Reserve of being a traitor to his country and being guilty of treason and suggesting that we ‘treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.’”
Perry may have to take time out from blasting Obama and his GOP rivals to cover his Lone Star rear.