Romney vs. Perry Battle Goes Off Stage

BY David Chalian  October 20, 2011 at 8:29 AM EST

Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have continued to criticize each other after Tuesday’s CNN debate in Las Vegas.

The Morning Line

Mitt Romney and Rick Perry won’t need podiums 18 inches apart on a debate stage to continue the fireworks display they launched Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

The newly combative tone dominating the Republican nomination race is likely to stay with us for the next few months.

In the 36 hours since the CNN debate concluded, the skirmishing between the campaigns has remained at a boil.

In a not so subtle dig at Romney, Perry promised the crowd gathered at the Western Republican Leadership Conference that they would not see “shape shifting nuance” from him, as the Texas governor attempted to make a contrast with his opponent by depicting himself as the authentic and consistent conservative in the race.

The Romney campaign launched a website to chip away at Perry’s preferred image as an anti-establishment outsider. The site, careerpolitician.com, is a home base for Romney opposition research and attack lines against Perry.


The Romney campaign unveiled it Wednesday with a video mocking Perry’s stumbling and bumbling at recent debates, but the video has since been taken down from the site.

Romney’s campaign told the Morning Line that CNN had asked that the video be taken down. “While the use of the CNN clips was fully within our rights under the law, we respect and appreciate the role CNN has played as host in debates over the last several months. For this reason, we are honoring their request to remove the video,” Romney for President spokesperson Andrea Saul said in an email.

POLITICO’s Morning Score reports that Perry’s campaign launched a web video of its own Thursday morning going after Romney for being misleading about his desire to use the Massachusetts health care plan as a model for the nation.

Both the Washington Post and the New York Times explore the back story in the Romney/Perry relationship and find no love lost between the two.

All of this to and fro is simply a warm-up act for the expensive, television ad war campaign that’s about to begin. The throat-clearing season has come to an end.

COMING INTO FOCUS

The chaos involving the Republican nominating calendar appears to be nearing an end.

On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Union Leader’s John DiStaso was told by top New Hampshire GOP officials that a deal was being hammered out that “could result in Nevada Republicans agreeing to move their caucus from Jan. 14 all the way back to Feb. 4.”

The deal would allow New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner to schedule the state’s primary for early- to mid-January, following the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, 2012. Gardner had threatened to push the primary into December if Nevada did not move the date of its caucuses to avoid conflicting with a New Hampshire law that requires the state’s nominating contest be held at least seven days before any other.

The Las Vegas Sun’s Anjeanette Damon reports on what Nevada would likely gain from holding its caucuses on a later date:

“In return for forfeiting its coveted third-in-the-nation contest this year, Nevada would receive promises of stricter future sanctions to protect its early state status in the long term.

“National party leaders also are promising to send high-level surrogates to Nevada to help the state and county parties raise money.”

A handful of Republican presidential hopefuls have pledged to boycott Nevada’s caucuses to show solidarity with New Hampshire, and pressure had been building on Romney to join the effort.

(As a quick aside, one of the Republicans who has aligned himself with the boycott, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, will be in Concord, N.H., at 1 p.m. Thursday to file his paperwork to be on the primary ballot. At 4 p.m., Vice President Joe Biden will file the Obama campaign’s paperwork at the New Hampshire State House.)

DiStaso also reports that Romney’s team has been helping to work out a deal:

“While no one would comment on behalf of the Romney campaign, people close to the developing situation confirmed that ‘Romney allies’ are supporting efforts to achieve a resolution and avoid conflict between the states.”

Romney is the early favorite to win both New Hampshire and Nevada, and winning one right after the other would give his campaign momentum heading into South Carolina and Florida. Now, it looks like Nevada could be the contest that puts him back on track if he happens to falter in either of those two states.

PAUL TAKES FLIGHT

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, raised more than $8 million in the last quarter, and Thursday he’s beginning to spend it in earnest.

The Paul campaign announced the launch of a two-week, multi-million dollar television ad buy in the critical early nominating states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Two different spots will be in rotation. The 30-second spot boasts that Rep. Paul predicted the 2008 financial collapse and presents the candidate’s economic plan. The 60-second spot is a more traditional contrast ad knocking Herman Cain, Romney and Perry for supporting the TARP bank bailout in 2008.

“No other Republican candidate’s economic plan matches that of Dr. Paul’s, so in turn we thought it only right to follow with a worthy campaign advertising effort,” said Paul campaign chairman Jesse Benton.

If a broad-based television campaign doesn’t help move the needle in these key early states, it may be tough for Paul to demonstrate a capacity to grow support beyond his current libertarian base.

Polls show that the GOP race remains unsettled as many Republican voters say they are not solidly committed to any one candidate. Paul’s decision to go on the air before his competitors and in a big fashion shows a desire to take advantage of that volatility and test the political marketplace to see if he can overtake the Trump/Bachmann/Perry/Cain anti-Romney lead slot in the polls.

ON THE TRAIL

All events listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama is in Washington after concluding his three-day bus tour Wednesday. He welcomes recipients of the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal to the White House at 2 p.m. and at 4:10 p.m. holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway
  • Vice President Biden delivers remarks on jobs and the economy at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire at 11:45 a.m., files campaign paperwork at the New Hampshire State House in Concord at 4 p.m. and attends a campaign fundraiser at 5:45 p.m.
  • Romney campaigns all day in Iowa, holding a Sioux City town hall at 9:30 a.m., an economic roundtable in Treynor at 1:05 p.m. and a meet and greet in Council Bluffs at 4:50 p.m.
  • Santorum barnstorms New Hampshire, hosting a Manchester meet and greet at 10:40 a.m., filing campaign paperwork in Concord at 1 p.m., holding a Hampstead meet and greet at 4 p.m. and ending back in Manchester for a rally at 7 p.m.
  • Newt Gingrich holds a town hall in Dallas at 2:30 p.m.
  • Michele Bachmann addresses the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco at 3 p.m.

All future events can be found on our Political Calendar.

For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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This post has been updated from its original version.