Campaign Recap September 12, 2011: Rick Perry Joins GOP Candidates in Debate at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney listened as Rick Perry, right, spoke Wednesday in his first Republican presidential debate. More Photos »

STATS & POLLS

Republican Presidential Candidates: Primaries 2012 — NYT

Democratic Nominee 2012: President Barack Obama’s Official Reelection Campaign Website — BarackObama.com

Republican National Committee

Democratic National Committee

    • Gallup Poll: Election 2012 — Track GOP Contender’s Images Week by Week — Generic Ballot Gallup
    • Gallup: Presidential Job Approval Gallup
    • Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval: Each result is based on a three-day rolling average Gallup
    • Poll Watch: Polls and Related Articles From The New York Times NYT
    • Survey: Tea Party Isolated on Climate, But Wide Accord on Most Energy Policies: A new survey shows strong support for energy research across the political spectrum…. – NYT, 9-7-11

In a recent Fox News survey, Bachmann was the choice of a whopping 4 percent of Republican voters. That tied her for fifth place with two candidates who aren’t even running: Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee. She’s only one percentage point ahead of, you guessed it, Newt Gingrich.

  • Is Michele Bachmann’s campaign in danger?: Her campaign manager, Ed Rollins, and deputy campaign manager, David Polyansky, moved on to other duties over the weekend. Is presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann the new Newt Gingrich?…. – CS Monitor, 9-6-11

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Mitt Romney: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts mittromney.com

Rick Perry: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts rickperry.org

Ron Paul: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ronpaul2012.com

Herman Cain: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts hermancain.com

Michele Bachmann: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts michelebachmann.com

Newt Gingrich: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts newt.org

Jon Huntsman: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts jon2012.com

Rick Santorum: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ricksantorum.com

  • The Republican Debate at the Reagan Library: The following is a transcript of the 2012 Republican presidential debate in Simi Valley, Calif., as transcribed by Roll Call…. – NYT, 9-7-11

IN FOCUS: GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE AT REAGAN LIBRARY

Campaign Buzz September 7, 2011: Full Text Transcript Republican Presidential Debate at the Ronald Reagan Library — Rick Perry & Mitt Romney Steal the Show — NYT, 9-7-11

Republican Debate Live Coverage ABC News, 9-7-11

Who won the Reagan debate? Politico Arena, 9-7-11

    • Republican Debate 2011: Reagan Library hosts GOP Presidential Candidates (Live Updates): The Republican Candidates Debate at the Reagan Library happens tonight at 8pm. Eight Presidential candidates will square off in a debate co-moderated by John F. Harris of POLITICO and Brian Williams of NBC News. We’ll be updating this page throughout the night with highlights from POLITICO’s coverage and around the web. Also check out our Burns and Haberman live blog and watch the debate livestream…. – Politico, 9-7-11
    • Live-Blogging the GOP Debate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry makes his debate debut tonight at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif.
      The GOP presidential debate is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. EDT, and will be carried live on MSNBC. It will also air later on CNBC and Telemundo.
      All eyes are on the Texas governor, who quickly sprinted to the front of the field in just a few short weeks, to see how he answers difficult questions about his past and fends off attacks from his rivals for the nomination. Will the outspoken Texan offer up another of his over-the-top remarks — like calling Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke‘s monetary policy “treasonous” or Social Security “a Ponzi scheme”? Or will he wade into the night with a front-runner’s reserve?
      Likewise, will former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney go on the attack after losing his perch atop most national polls? And how will tea-party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann react now that she is no longer the flavor-of-the-month? And will Rep. Ron Paul and former Sen. Rick Santorum renew their spirited feud from the last debate?
      Sparks flew when Republicans gathered in Ames, Iowa, last month, but the race has fundamentally altered since Tim Pawlenty quit the field after a lackluster finish in the Iowa straw poll and Mr. Perry commandeered the spotlight…. – WSJ, 9-7-11

“We created more jobs in the last three months in Texas, than he created in four years in Massachusetts…..
Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.” — Rick Perry

“Gov. Perry doesn’t believe he created those things, if he tried to say that, well it would be like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet….
As a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, governor.” — Mitt Romney

“I hate to rain on the parade of the Lone Star governor, but as governor of Utah we were the No. 1 job creator during my years of service.” — Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman

“It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today, you’re paying into a program that’s going to be there. Anybody that’s for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and it’s not right.” — — Rick Perry

“Our nominee has to be someone who isn’t committed to abolishing Social Security, but who’s committed to saving Social Security.” — Mitt Romney

“I kind of feel like the piñata here at the party.” — Rick Perry said midway through the debate

    • FACTBOX-Romney, Perry spar at Republican debate: Republican presidential hopeful Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney sparred over who did a better job at promoting employment in a testy exchange at a debate on Wednesday night.
      Since entering the race just weeks ago to unseat Democratic President Barack Obama, Perry has knocked Romney off his front-runner perch and is now leading in the polls…. – Reuters, 9-7-11
    • Governor Perry comes out swinging at debate: Texas Governor Rick Perry came out swinging in his national debut on Wednesday, all but calling President Barack Obama a liar, describing Social Security as a fraud and attacking his main Republican rival in the presidential race.
      Perry, a conservative Tea Party favorite and the Republican front-runner, traded barbs with closest competitor Mitt Romney over who has created more jobs.
      Their testy exchange in Perry’s first presidential debate was proof that the fight to determine the 2012 Republican challenger to Democrat Obama is becoming a two-man contest…. – Reuters, 9-7-11
    • Romney, Perry spar over jobs, Social Security: Eager to tangle, Republican presidential rivals Rick Perry and Mitt Romney sparred vigorously over job creation and Social Security Wednesday night in a lively campaign debate that marked a new turn in the race to pick a 2012 challenger to President Barack Obama…. – AP, 9-7-11
    • Romney and Perry Clash, Drawing Lines in G.O.P. Sand: The fight for the Republican presidential nomination began narrowing into an intense and ideological battle at a debate here Wednesday night, with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Mitt Romney sharply clashing over Social Security, health care and each other’s long-term prospect against President Obama.
      A series of spirited exchanges between the two men, which revealed differences in substance and style, offered the first extensive look into the months-long contest ahead that will offer Republican voters a starkly different choice. They traded attacks on each other’s job creation records and qualifications to be president, overshadowing their opponents in the crowded Republican field…. – NYT, 9-7-11
    • Panelists, GOP rivals target Perry from outset of debate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry got a rugged baptism to the Republican presidential race Wednesday as both his opponents and the panelists of a debate here pitched pointed questions to Perry about his 10-year record and views expressed in his 2010 book.
      Moderators and candidates gathered at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library made up for lost time, delving into Perry’s “Texas Miracle,” record on the death penalty and skepticism about climate change. By the debate’s conclusion, the back and forth revealed what was turning into a two-candidate race between Perry and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney…. – USA Today, 9-7-11
    • Front-runner Rick Perry plays the ‘piñata’ at GOP presidential debate: In his first presidential debate since entering the GOP field, Texas Gov. Rick Perry took most of the barbs from his fellow candidates on issues ranging from Social Security to jobs…. – CS Monitor, 9-7-11
    • Perry, Romney spar over job creation, Social Security: Debate newcomer Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney clashed over their job creation records, health care and Social Security at the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night. … – CNN, 9-7-11
    • Perry, Romney square off in Reagan Library debate: Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the two front-runners, spar over their job creation records. Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and other GOP candidates seem almost relegated to the sidelines. GOP presidential candidates debate at the Reagan Presidential Library…. – LAT, 9-7-11
    • Rick Perry shows aggressive style in his first GOP debate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a reputation for running aggressive campaigns designed to keep the focus on his opponents rather than himself. In his opening debate as a presidential candidate, he followed that script from start to finish.
      Midway through Wednesday’s forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Perry joked, “I kind of feel like a piñata here at the party.” It was an acknowledgement that as the new leader in the polls for the GOP nomination, Perry drew more attacks and more critical questions than any of the other candidates.
      But he did as much to stick his rivals as they did to him. He went after the other candidates with relish, whether in response to their criticisms or preemptively. He stood by some of his most controversial statements, including his view that Social Security is a “monstrosity.” At other times, he slipped past questions calling into question his record in Texas.
      Many of his exchanges were with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the erstwhile front-runner for the GOP nomination until Perry got into the race last month. That produced a Romney who was more animated than in the first three debates, creating the impression that, for now, the Perry vs. Romney dynamic is the dominant theme of the Republican nomination contest.
      Polls have shown that Perry and Romney are well ahead of any of the others in the race. But it took Wednesday’s debate — preceded by questions about Perry’s staying power and preparation for a national race, and about Romney’s ability to respond to a serious Republican rival — to demonstrate that both candidates are ready to battle it out for the foreseeable future…. – WaPo, 9-7-11
    • Perry clashes with Romney in debate: Gov. Rick Perry tangled often with his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination Wednesday, clashing with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over Social Security and jobs in Perry’s first presidential debate.
      As the newest entrant to the race and the person sitting atop national polls, Perry was the central character in Wednesday’s nationally televised debate from Ronald Reagan’s presidential library, the first of three such contests this month. Questioners and opponents repeatedly zeroed in on his Texas record, his book and some of the most provocative statements from his young candidacy…. – Austin American-Statesman, 9-7-11
    • Perry swings, Romney sings, as GOP frontrunners face off in first debate: Rick Perry proved one thing in his first debate appearance since joining the Republican presidential nomination race: He takes no guff.
      Despite the “Southern gentleman” veneer in which he occasionally couched his barbs, the Texas Governor shot at nearly anything that moved on stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
      He called Social Security, which remains a financial lifeline for millions of seniors, a “Ponzi scheme” and “monstrous lie” visited on younger Americans who will be left holding the bag.
      He called Karl Rove, the former George W. Bush adviser who had criticized some of Mr. Perry’s earlier comments as unpresidential, “over the top for a long time.”
      “Maybe it’s time to have provocative language in this country,” Mr. Perry retorted after Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and Mr. Perry’s chief rival for the nomination, challenged him on his characterization of Social Security…. – Globe & Mail, 9-7-11
    • Reagan debate reactions come quickly on Twitter: If you’d kept up with Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate only by Twitter, you could have easily thought Mitt Romney and Rick Perry were the only candidates on stage and their other six rivals for the Republican presidential nomination had decided to stay home.
      The clash between the two over jobs that kicked off the NBC News/POLITICO debate was an instant Twitter hit, making the phrase “Romney and Perry” a top Twitter trend.
      But it didn’t take long for users to grow weary of the back-and-forth between the two rivals standing next to each other on the debate stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif…. – Politico, 9-7-11
    • GOP debate: Biggest winner, loser and missed opportunity: Biggest Missed Opportunity: Rick Perry. He needed to explain what he means when he calls Social Security a Ponzi scheme. Does he want to repeal it? Change it? We still don’t know. Biggest winner: Mitt Romney. Looked and sounded presidential. … – LAT, 9-7-11

PERRY: Well, Governor Romney left the private sector, and he did a great job of creating jobs in the private sector all around the world. But the fact is, when he moved that experience to government, he had one of the lowest job creation rates in the country. So the fact is, while he had a good private-sector record, his public-sector record did not match that. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in the last three months in Texas than he created in four years in Massachusetts.

WILLIAMS: Well, let’s widen this out and let’s bring in Mr. (Herman) Cain on one side.

ROMNEY: Wait a second. … Listen, wait a second.

WILLIAMS: We could do this all evening.

ROMNEY: States are different. Texas is a great state. Texas has zero income tax. Texas has a right-to-work state, a Republican legislature, a Republican Supreme Court. Texas has a lot of oil and gas in the ground.
Those are wonderful things, but Governor Perry doesn’t believe that he created those things. If he tried to say that, well, it would be like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.

ROMNEY: Look, the reality is, there are differences. There are differences between states. I came into a state that was in real trouble — a huge budget gap, losing jobs every month. We turned it around. Three out of four years, we had unemployment rate below the national average, we ended up with 4.7 percent unemployment rate. I’m proud of what we were able to do in a tough situation.

PERRY: (Former Massachusetts Governor) Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.

ROMNEY: Well, as a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, Governor.

PERRY: That’s not correct.

ROMNEY: Yes, that is correct.

THE HEADLINES: WEEKLY RECAP

  • Live Blog: Republicans Meet in Florida for Tea Party Debate: Just days after a debate in California, the eight Republican presidential candidates will square off again tonight at a forum in Tampa…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Perry Wears a Bull’s-Eye at G.O.P. Debate: The presidential candidates aggressively confronted Gov. Rick Perry and pressed him to expound upon his views on Social Security and a vaccination program for teenage girls…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • As Perry Rises, G.O.P. Elite Look Toward Romney: The rising presidential candidacy of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is stirring excitement for many Republican voters but is creating unease in some quarters of the party’s establishment…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Pawlenty Endorses Romney: Tim Pawlenty, who dropped out of the race last month, endorses Mitt Romney’s candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Jindal to Endorse Perry: Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has decided to back Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican primary…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Perry’s Tone on Social Security Takes a Turn: Rick Perry, once highly critical of Social Security, now suggests its long-term viability must be assured…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Florida set for big role in GOP presidential race: Florida is much larger, diverse and expensive than the other four early-voting states, he said, and so it rewards the type of campaigning a Republican must do around the country to oust President Barack Obama in November 2012. … – AP, 9-11-11
  • Democrats Fret Aloud Over Obama’s Chances: Elected officials and party leaders at all levels said that their concern about President Obama’s vulnerability in 2012 has intensified as the economy has displayed fresh signs of weakness…. – NYT, 9-10-11
  • Obama campaign sets $55M fundraising goal: President Barack Obama’s campaign team told top donors Friday they hope to raise a combined $55 million during a three-month period ending in late September, warning of an impending fundraising onslaught from Republican presidential hopefuls Rick Perry and Mitt Romney…. – AP, 9-9-11
  • Romney and Perry Assume Contrasting Republican Brands: The performances of Mitt Romney and Rick Perry at Wednesday’s Republican debate were a kind of lesson in the different paths that might lead to the White House…. – NYT, 9-9-11
  • Romney and Perry clash over Social Security: A growing divide over Social Security splits the two leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, and the differences between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney foreshadow a tricky political dance with older voters.
    Romney has seized on what he perceives as Perry’s vulnerability on a program that seniors hold dear, Democrats venerate as sacrosanct and Perry has labeled a “Ponzi scheme.”… – AP, 9-9-11
  • Attacking the Democrats, but Not Always Getting It Right: The Republican presidential candidates’ arguments ran into factual hurdles during the debate on Wednesday night…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Electability a Primary Liability for Perry: Gov. Rick Perry’s remarks about Social Security may play into concerns about his appeal to general election voters…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Grist for Left and Right in Perry Immigration Record: As Gov. Rick Perry edges into front-runner status for the Republican presidential nomination, his opponents are trying to plant seeds of doubt about how tough he has been on illegal immigration…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Fresh Off Debate Debut, Perry Turns Down the Heat: Gov. Rick Perry was less critical in his assessment of his Republican rivals the day after they met for a debate, focusing his attacks on President Obama instead…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Scenes From the Republican Candidates’ Debate: Readers respond to coverage of the Republican presidential candidates’ debate on Wednesday…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Bachmann: Even if Obama gets jobs plan, it’ll fail: Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann is criticizing President Barack Obama’s plan to create jobs. She says Obama’s approach amounts to more “failed gimmicks.” The Minnesota congresswoman says the plan Obama outlined … – AP, 9-8-11
  • It’s Romney-Perry now, with plenty of differences: As Rick Perry and Mitt Romney jockey over their ability to defeat President Barack Obama, there are deepening fault lines between the two on Social Security, immigration, jobs and more that could shape the contest…. – AP, 9-8-11
  • Analysis: GOP debate raises jobs pressure on Obama: President Barack Obama, already under pressure to present a compelling new job-expansion strategy in his nationwide address Thursday, will now feel even more urgency. The California forum Wednesday night covered several topics, but above all it helped … – AP, 9-8-11
  • GOP rivals gang up on Romney over health care law: The “individual mandate” component of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is one of its most controversial. At Wednesday night’s Republican debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Romney’s plan is a bad example for the rest of the nation…. – AP, 9-7-11
  • Romney and Perry jab at each other on job records: Romney says that as governor of Massachusetts, he oversaw more jobs created in his state than President Barack Obama has overseen nationwide. Perry sniped back that another former Massachusetts governor, Democrat Michael Dukakis, created jobs three … – AP, 9-7-11
  • GOP debate features first appearance for Perry: Republicans competing for the chance to challenge President Barack Obama next fall were taking the stage one day before the incumbent Democrat rolls out a jobs-creation plan. It’s the first of three Republican presidential debates scheduled over…. – AP, 9-7-11
  • Perry leaves Texas wildfires, heads to GOP debate: President Barack Obama rejected Texas’ request in April for federal aid due to wildfires, but then declared 45 fire-ravaged counties a major disaster in July, after Perry wrote to the White House to appeal the previous decision. … – AP, 9-7-11
  • Texas wildfires: Is Rick Perry being hypocritical asking for federal aid?: Texas wildfires are forcing Gov. Rick Perry to walk a philosophical tightrope. A strong advocate for a smaller federal government, he’s chiding the Obama administration for not helping more during the Texas wildfires…. – CS Monitor, 9-7-11
  • Ron Paul versus Rick Perry: Who is Ronald Reagan’s true heir?: Rep. Ron Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have been trading barbs, with both talking about allegiance to Ronald Reagan. Their arguments take a few liberties…. – CS Monitor, 9-7-11
  • Republicans Debate in California as Race Intensifies: The debate was the first time the Republican contenders shared a stage since Gov. Rick Perry opened his campaign in August…. – NYT, 9-7-11
  • G.O.P. Hopefuls Vying for Tea Party’s Support: The leading Republican presidential candidates spent Labor Day declaring their fealty to limited government as they strongly criticized President Obama’s economic policies…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Romney unveils economic plan ahead of Obama speech: Romney also accused President Barack Obama of expanding federal regulations. Romney’s new plan calls on government agencies to make sure that new regulations don’t cost money — if a new set of rules raises costs for businesses, Romney would require … – AP, 9-6-11
  • Mitt Romney jobs plan: Can it create 11 million jobs in four years?: Romney’s plan includes tax cuts, reduced regulation, and an emphasis on expanded free trade. But creating 11 million new jobs would require many things to go just right, economists say…. – CS Monitor, 9-6-11
  • A Campaign Challenge: Defining Obama: While the president will not directly confront the Republican nominee until 2012, his advisers believe that the next three months are critical to reversing his downward trajectory…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Super PAC Plans Major Primary Campaign for Rick Perry: Make Us Great Again plans to spend as much as $55 million to help Rick Perry win the Republican presidential nomination…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Is Michele Bachmann’s campaign in danger?: Her campaign manager, Ed Rollins, and deputy campaign manager, David Polyansky, moved on to other duties over the weekend. Is presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann the new Newt Gingrich?… – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Loss of Top Two Aides Raises Questions About Bachmann Campaign: The departure of Ed Rollins and his deputy was seen by some as evidence that Michele Bachmann’s campaign was at a critical juncture…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Bachmann’s Steep Path to the Nomination: Michele Bachmann faces many potential obstacles to the Republican presidential nomination…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Pataki Says He Is Content to Be a Noncandidate: The former governor said he had no regrets about deciding not to make a run for president, a notion that some people in the political world had mocked….- NYT, 9-6-11
  • G.O.P. Hopefuls Vying for Tea Party’s Support: The leading Republican presidential candidates spent Labor Day declaring their fealty to limited government as they strongly criticized President Obama’s economic policies…. – NYT, 9-5-11
  • GOP candidates in SC vow to carry tea-party banner: Mitt Romney says the Obama administration flaunted the constitution to push a political agenda. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota calls Obama’s policies “unconstitutional.” And Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he has a better record on jobs than Obama. … – AP, 9-5-11
  • Still undecided, Palin rails against Obama: Sarah Palin left open the possibility of a presidential bid Monday afternoon, while encouraging tea party activists to unite against President Obama. And the former Alaska governor praised Republican presidential candidates…. – AP, 9-5-11
  • Their Optimism Rising, G.O.P. Voters Look for a Winner: In interviews in New Hampshire and Iowa, Republicans expressed a sense of possibility and a longing for a strong conservative leader…. – NYT, 9-5-11
  • Republican Candidates Turn Attacks on One Another: The Republican field is entering a pivotal stage as candidates increasingly move beyond criticizing President Obama and start to run against each other…. – NYT, 9-4-11

HOUSE — SENATE — GOVERNORSHIPS CANMPAIGNS & ELECTIONS

  • Democratic US Rep. Baldwin joins Wis. Senate race: Republicans are sure to go after Baldwin’s liberal voting record, hoping to sway independent and moderate voters their way in a state that has swung between handing President Barack Obama a 14-point win in 2008 and kicking Democrats out of power…. – AP, 9-5-11

CAMPAIGN 2012: ANALYSTS &S HISTORIANS COMMENTS

    • Politico Arena: Daily Debate with Policymakers, Opinionshapers & Academics Politico
    • Julian Zelizer: If Obama Is a One-Term President: “I’D rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,” President Obama confessed to ABC News’ Diane Sawyer last year. Other than the “really good” part, Republicans would be happy to see this wish fulfilled.
      With waning approval ratings and a stagnant economy, the possibility that Mr. Obama will not be re-elected has entered the political bloodstream. Suddenly, the opposition party envisions a scenario in which its presidential candidate could defeat Mr. Obama in a referendum on his job performance. Mr. Obama needs to think hard about his own statement and consider what it takes to be a successful one-term president, in the light of history…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • Thomas F. Mayer: Historian Says Perry Misses Point on Galileo and Climate Change: “If Perry means to say that at some point some body of scientists said Galileo was wrong, that didn’t happen,” said the historian, Thomas F. Mayer, who teaches at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.
      Galileo and Copernicus were long ago proved right, but even in Galileo’s day there were scientists who supported him, Dr. Mayer said. “His notions about science were not that far out there,” he said. “There were a lot of other scientists, especially in Rome, who more or less agreed with his scientific observations.”… – NYT, 9-8-11
    • LARRY J. SABATO: The 2012 Election Will Come Down to Seven States National polls are nice, but Electoral College math is what matters: Straw polls, real polls, debates, caucuses, primaries—that’s the public side of presidential campaigns 14 months before Election Day. But behind the scenes, strategists for President Obama and his major Republican opponents are already focused like a laser on the Electoral College.
      The emerging general election contest gives every sign of being highly competitive, unlike 2008. Of course, things can change: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were both in trouble at this point in their first terms, and George H.W. Bush still looked safe. Unexpectedly strong economic growth could make Mr. Obama’s re-election path much easier than it currently looks, as could the nomination of a damaged Republican candidate. But a few more weeks like the past couple, and Mr. Obama’s re-election trajectory will resemble Jimmy Carter’s.
      Both parties are sensibly planning for a close election. For all the talk about how Hispanics or young people will vote, the private chatter is about a few vital swing states. It’s always the Electoral College math that matters most.
      Voting is predictable for well over half the states, so even 14 months out it’s easy to shade in most of the map for November 2012….
      Right now, though, a troubled President Obama—so far unopposed for re-nomination—has the luxury of keeping both eyes on the Electoral College, planning his trips and policies accordingly. By contrast, the leading Republican contenders are forced to focus their gaze on delegate votes in a handful of early-voting states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Still, quietly they’re already seeking admission to the only college that can give them the job they want. – WSJ, 9-6-11

It’s hard to remember the last time a time a presidential candidate joined a race relatively this late in the game and made this much of an impact. Part of it is based on Perry’s style, his affinity for Tea Party causes, and his record as governor, in which he boasts of unparalleled job creation and growth. But part of it has always been the fragile status of the previous leader in the polls, Mitt Romney. A former governor of Massachusetts, Romney was thought to have the upper hand because of his fundraising advantage, strong organization and the fact that he had run once before; he was an also-ran in 2008. — Kem Rudin, NPR

  • The GOP Race Begins Now: Ignore all that other stuff. Yes, we’ve had months and months of non-stop activity by the Republicans who would like to take on President Obama next year. We’ve had a few debates, a bunch of straw polls, campaign finance reports, visits to the early primary and caucus states, some almost candidacies and even a major dropout.
    But now the battle for the GOP nomination starts in earnest, beginning this Wednesday with the debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. (sponsored by Politico and NBC News; 8 pm ET)…. – NPR, 9-5-11
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