The Fix: Florida debate

Rick Perry: The most electable GOP candidate?

One in an occasional series of posts looking at the most important number in politics; check out past “MINP’s” here.

42

A single number in the new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released this morning epitomizes the challenge before former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney when it comes to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.


Texas Governor and Presidential hopeful Rick Perry, gives a "thumbs up" sign to supporters as he leaves a town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., at Horry-Georgetown Technical College on Monday Sept. 5, 2011 in Conway, S.C. (AP Photo/Willis Glassgow)

Asked which of the Republican candidates had the best chance of beating President Obama next November, 42 percent chose Perry while 26 percent named Romney. No other candidate won double-digit support.

Couple those numbers with the fact that three-quarters of Republicans in that same poll say they prefer a candidate who can beat Obama to one that agrees with them on every issue and you begin to see the shape of Romney’s potential problem.

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Fast Fix: Rick vs Mitt (VIDEO)

Tonight’s Republican presidential debate in Tampa, Florida is likely to focus on the burgeoning fight between the two frontrunners: Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

It’s the second time in five days the two men will share a debate stage and if past is prologue expect them to duel over Perry’s assertion that Social Security amounts to a “Ponzi scheme”.

In today’s episode of the “Fast Fix” we offer our video preview of how that scrap might shake out. Don’t forget to tune into The Fix tonight for our live-blog of the debate.

Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and the Fix Endorsement Hierarchy

When the news broke this morning that former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty was endorsing former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney , one question was at the top of everyone’s mind: Where does this fit into the Fix’s Endorsement Hierarchy? (Ok, so maybe that wasn’t the first things most people thought of. But, it was the first thing that occurred to us.)


Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty discusses his endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a news conference Monday in North Charleston, S.C.. (Bruce Smith - AP)

For the uninitiated, the Fix Endorsement Hierarchy is an attempt to categorize and rank the various endorsements in the political world — from the helpful to the horrible. (And, yes, our endorsement hierarchy is the political equivalent of Bill Simmons’ (aka the Sports Guy) 13 levels of losing.)

So where does the Pawlenty for Romney endorsement fit?

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Florida takes center stage in 2012 campaign

For the next 12 days, Florida will stand at the center of the 2012 Republican race, playing host to two debates — one tonight and a second on Sept. 22 — as well as a straw poll that will help shape the presidential nomination fight.

The next week and a half will also serve as the precursor to the Sunshine State primary early next year — a contest that many people believe could decide the identity of the party’s nominee.

“Early caucuses and primaries give the candidates a chance to shine with a certain segment of the electorate, but in Florida candidates will face the largest and most diverse GOP primary electorate of any early state,” said Sally Bradshaw, a longtime political adviser to former governor Jeb Bush.

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