Afternoon Fix: Santorum weighs in on Perry hunting camp

at 05:31 PM ET, 10/04/2011

Rick Santorum weighs in on the rock, Michele Bachmann is headed to New Hampshire, Chris Christie supporters are scattering and most candidates are boycotting a Univision debate.

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Some mild, qualified criticism of Texas Gov. Rick Perry from former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum on CNN’s “Situation Room” today on the now-infamous hunting camp rock: “I don’t know what the truth is. All I can says is it was poor judgment if he did leave it up there. I don't believe Rick Perry is a racist, but certainly he showed in that case, if [the racial epithet was left uncovered] poor judgment.” After initially criticizing Perry on the issue, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain has walked his comments back.

* Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is headed to New Hampshire for a three-day bus tour starting Sunday, although the campaign is maintaining an intense focus on Iowa. The presidential candidate has been rapidly losing staff — pollster Ed Goeas is leaving the campaign, and senior adviser Andy Parrish is returning to Bachmann’s congressional office. Her staff says all the changes were made to deal with the changing primary schedule, but Bachmann has been dropping in polls and struggling with fundraising.

* Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney coined a new term while hitting Perry on Social Security at an event at The Villages in Florida today (prime territory for this line of attack). “The problem is not that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme,” he said. “The problem is keeping it from becoming a Perry scheme.”

* While ex-Rep. Pete Hoekstra has been rallying GOP support for his Senate campaign, new fundraising numbers from primary challenger Clark Durant should give the Michigan Republican pause. Durant, a charter school founder, took in $750,000 in his first quarter since getting in the race. He says he loaned no money to the campaign and borrowed no money to reach that total. Hoekstra consultant Jon Yob tweeted, “Pete Hoekstra's number is more than $750k zero debt, and pinched pennies.”

* President Obama has launched another Twitter campaign — a website that helps voters find Republican legislators and tweet at them to pass the American Jobs Act. Previous Twitter campaigns from the White House were flooded with mocking tweets from opponents; forcing people to sign in may make that harder.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* Now that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is officially, definitely, not running for president, his supporters are getting picked up by other campaigns. Iowa Republican Gary Kirke, who tried to recruit Christie into the race, has gone to Perry. Venture capitalist Ken Langone has gone to Romney.

* There’s a Democratic primary debate in Massachusetts tonight, hosted by the Boston Herald and University of Massachusetts-Lowell. A poll earlier this week showed Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren in a dead heat with Sen. Scott Brown (R) and far ahead of her primary opponents, but this is her first time debating, and there could be some heat with CityYear founder Alan Khazei. You can watch the debate live here.

* Bachmann Perry, Romney and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman are all boycotting an upcoming Univision debate, as requested by Florida Hispanic Republicans. The boycott stems from allegations that the network tried to use an unfavorable story about Marco Rubio ‘s brother-in-law to “extort” the Republican senator into an interview with the show Al Punto. The debate is scheduled for Jan. 29th, just a few days before the Florida primary.

* Of course, now that Christie is out of the race, some Republicans are allegedly hoping that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) will run. This will almost definitely not happen, but now is as good a time as any to read New York Magazine’s big profile of the guy. Meanwhile, a law firm with ties to Sarah Palin’s political action committee has been making calls in early states to ask about primary filing deadlines.

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