POLITICS -- September 30, 2011 at 8:28 AM ET
The Perry vs. Romney Battle Escalates
Photos by Getty Images.
As the political world awaits to compare the Romney and Perry 3rd quarter fundraising totals -- and to see Perry's promised better debate performance on October 11 -- the candidates themselves are doing anything but sitting quietly on the sidelines.
In an address being billed as his first domestic policy speech of the campaign, Gov. Perry plans to step up his attacks on his rival from Massachusetts.
The Associated Press' Kasie Hunt obtained an early look at the speech:
"'As Republican voters decide who is best suited to lead this country in a new direction by stopping the spending spree and scrapping Obamacare, I am confident they will choose a nominee who has governed on conservative principles, not one whose health care policies paved the way for Obamacare,' Perry says, according to prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press. . . "
"' ... I knew when I got into this race I would have my hands full fighting President Obama's big government agenda. I just didn't think it would be in the Republican primary,' Perry adds."
The Perry campaign is still trying to recover from a very rough week following a widely panned debate performance and some national and state polls showing slipping support. If Perry's fundraising haul at the end of today is more than the $11-$13 million Romney reportedly raised for the quarter, it will go a long way in quieting some of his critics.
The speech Perry plans to give in Georgia Friday does not appear, according to the excerpts in the Associated Press report, to be an in-depth policy rollout with specific goals for his presidency. It seems more intended to indicate that Perry is going to stay and fight and be unafraid in taking it directly to Romney and President Obama.
The Romney campaign is bracketing the Perry speech with a stepped-up attack on the Texan's policy to allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition in the Lone Star state if they meet several residency and academic requirements.
The fact that the Romney campaign has not lifted its foot off the gas pedal on the immigration issue, even after Perry acknowledged using "inappropriate" language in suggesting opponents of his policy were heartless, clearly suggests they continue to see it working for them.
In a new web video out Friday, the Romney campaign uses former Mexican President Vicente Fox's praise of Perry's policy to make its point.
"I want to publicly recognize Governor Perry and the state of Texas by having taken that step forward," Fox says in the clip excerpted in the video.
The immigration vs. healthcare issue matrix has taken hold as the primary line the two candidates are using against each other -- and around which they plan to build their larger negative message frames heading into the heated fall campaign.
HUNTSMAN ON THE MOVE
When Jon Huntsman remarked earlier this week that his presidential campaign would "focus singularly on New Hampshire," he really meant it.
The former Utah governor has decided to relocate his campaign headquarters to the Granite State from Florida, a move that emphasizes how critical the first-in-the-nation primary state is to Huntsman's path to the nomination.
"This move will ensure that we have the resources necessary to win the first in the nation primary," Huntsman campaign manager Matt David told the New York Times' Jeff Zeleny, who first broke the news. "Success in New Hampshire is vital for our campaign to have the momentum we need to succeed in South Carolina, Florida and the states that follow," David added.
The move from Orlando to Manchester will result in staff layoffs, Zeleny reports, but David will continue to run the Huntsman operation, and the campaign's chief strategist, John Weaver, also will remain in place.
On the surface, the decision makes some degree of sense for Huntsman, who has shown signs of life in New Hampshire recently, gaining six percentage points in a recent Suffolk University/7NEWS poll of Republican voters in the state, moving him into third place with 10 percent support.
The candidate explained his New Hampshire strategy during an appearance Tuesday on MSNBC. "That is not an overly expensive market. That is a market where the old Adlai Stevenson shoe leather is important," Huntsman said. "I know how to work that market. The early signs are that we're connecting with the people. They like the message."
Still, the move underscores the fact that the Huntsman campaign simply does not have the resources to press on with its original three-state strategy of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, and serves as an acknowledgment that a poor showing in the first of those three will make success in the other two unlikely.
SENATE DEMOCRATS CAN'T 'PASS THIS BILL'
Despite President Obama's near-constant urging for Congress to take up and pass his $447 billion American Jobs Act, one of his closest allies in the Democratic-controlled Senate conceded Thursday that the votes are simply not there yet.
"Not at the moment, I don't think we do but, uh, we can work on it," Sen. Dick Durbin, the majority's top vote counter in the Senate, said on a Chicago radio station when asked if the bill had the votes.
More from the WLS interview:
"'The oil-producing state senators don't like eliminating or reducing the subsidy for oil companies,' Durbin tells WLS Radio, 'There are some senators who are up for election who say I'm never gonna vote for a tax increase while I'm up for election, even on the wealthiest people. So, we're not gonna have 100% Democratic senators. That's why it needs to be bi-partisan and I hope we can find some Republicans who will join us to make it happen.'"
Senate Democrats expect the bill to be taken up and debated in October.
GINGRICH'S NEW 'CONTRACT'
For those who missed it, Judy Woodruff spoke with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Thursday about his "21st Century Contract with America" (including reforms to Medicare and Medicaid), as well as other 2012 campaign issues (his path to the nomination and how a bid by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would impact the race).
You can watch the full interview here.
ON THE TRAIL
All events listed in Eastern Time.
President Obama delivers remarks at the "Change of Office" Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ceremony at Fort Myer in Virginia, at 11 a.m., before turning to politics, sitting for an Oval Office interview with Michael Smerconish at 1:40 p.m., then deliver remarks at a private fundraiser at 8:05 p.m.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul attends a "Politics & Eggs" event in Manchester, N.H., at 8 a.m.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich meets with grassroots activists in Fort Dodge, Iowa, at 9 a.m., then hosts a town hall in Ames at 12 p.m.
Rick Perry delivers remarks in Atlanta, Ga., at 10:10 a.m., then holds a town hall in Derry, N.H., at 6 p.m.
For all future campaign events, be sure to check out our Political Calendar.