An Unfocused Perry in CNN Nevada Debates Should Spell an End to His Campaign

Posted on October 19, 2011

Early in the Nevada GOP debate this evening, Governor Romney said to a Perry who kept aggressively talking over him(an approximation of his words):  “You have a problem with both people speaking. If you can’t listen to others, how could  you be President of the United States”?  In addition to talking over Romney, Perry managed to wander off topic in a couple of areas of questioning and go back to a point he doggedly would not give up on unrelated to the question at hand.  Much of this was directed at Romney.

Perry is the only candidate overly involved in attacking a fellow candidate.  He is like a dog trained to fight.  There is almost a reflexive aspect to his behavior at some moments.  He also at other times hesitates in his presentation as if it were scripted and he had problems recalling the lines.  He is ill at ease generally and not broad in his understanding of the topics.

In all fairness a couple of times Cooper set Perry up by asking not how the Governor of Texas viewed an issue but how he viewed Governor Romney’s stand on an issue.  Perry would begin to answer the query by responding to the subject at hand but then veer off to his own subject related to Romney.  In this example, the subject was health care:

COOPER: Governor Perry, in the last debate, Governor Romney pointed out that Texas has one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the country, over one million kids. You did not get an opportunity to respond to that. What do you say? How do you explain that?

PERRY: Well, we’ve got one of the finest health care systems in the world in Texas. As a matter of fact, the Houston, Texas, Medical Center, there’s more doctors and nurses that go to work there every morning than any other place in America. But the idea that you can’t have access to health care, some of the finest health care in the world — but we have a 1,200-mile border with Mexico, and the fact is we have a huge number of illegals that are coming into this country.

And they’re coming into this country because the federal government has failed to secure that border. But they’re coming here because there is a magnet. And the magnet is called jobs. And those people that hire illegals ought to be penalized.

And Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year. And the idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you’re strong on immigration is on its face the height of hypocrisy. []

We need a President who not only listens but who is not obsessed with something to the point that he looses his focus.  Perry clearly has difficulties with communication and cannot possibly attract many more followers than he has now.

On  Anderson Cooper 360, that followed the debate, CNN commentator David Gergen made a reference to Gingrich’s summation at the end of the debate saying he sounded “presidential.”

GINGRICH: Let me — let me just point out for a second that maximizing bickering is probably not the road to the White House.


And the — the technique you’ve used maximizes going back and forth over and over again.

I just want to say two things. I think that I would be the strongest candidate because of sheer substance, if you go to and look at the 21st Century Contract with America. As the nominee, I will challenge Obama to meet the Lincoln-Douglas standard of seven three-hour debate, no time — no moderator, only a timekeeper. I believe we can defeat him decisively to a point where we re-establish a conservative America on our values. And I think that is a key part of thinking about next year.

And the above brings us back to my initial statement:  Cooper set up the questioning in such a way that it encouraged bickering.

Posted in: ELECTION 2012