Rick Perry Fights Back, Misses the Mark, in 3rd GOP Debate
Texas Governor Rick Perry came out on the offensive in last night’s GOP debate in Orlando, an attempted to rebound from a shaky debate performance last week. He remained the top target of his fellow presidential hopefuls, but Perry seemed more prepared for the criticism.
The governor delivered his strongest defenses to date for two topics that have been nagging him on the campaign trail. When his main GOP opponent former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney labeled Perry soft on immigration, Perry talked about the millions he’s spent on border security and held firm to his support of a Texas law that provides in-state tuition for some children of illegal immigrants.
“If you say that we should not education children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart,” Perry said.
The governor was also ready when Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann said lobbyists and their money were the reason he attempted to mandate a cervical cancer vaccine for young girls.
“I got lobbied on this issue,” Perry said, “I got lobbied by a 31-year-old young lady who had stage four cervical cancer. I spent a lot of time with her. She came by my office. She talked with me about this program.”
But he appeared to falter when talking about his campaign theme of “Getting America Working Again,” especially when Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked just how he would create jobs.
“Most of the people on the stage – opponents – have a specific jobs plan on paper that people can read. Where’s your jobs plan?” Baier asked.
“Well you’ll see a more extensive jobs plan. But the fact of the matter is you look at the state of Texas and see what we’ve done there,” Perry said.
That’s been a common tactic for Governor Perry. He’s always said he’s a results guy when working with the state legislature, giving grand themes for what he’d like to see accomplished but leaving most of the details to lawmakers.
That may not work on the national stage. Mitt Romney was ready to talk about his jobs plan beginning with lowering business taxes. And continuing through four points from the 59-point jobs plan he’s released.
Romney also found time to dig at what he hopes is becoming a sore spot for Governor Perry – social security. Rick Perry managed to get in a few jabs at Romney on Massachusetts mandated health care plan. Perry calls it Romney-care. In the end the debate did little to dispel the notion that the GOP nomination is quickly becoming a two person race.