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Rick Perry’s comeback strategy: Attack Obama

at 03:09 PM ET, 11/16/2011

Looking to claw back to relevance in the Republican presidential race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry appears to have settled on a simple strategy: attack President Obama.

His latest ad, which began airing today in Iowa and on national cable stations, takes Obama to task for a recent comment that America has grown “a little bit lazy” in selling the country overseas over the past few decades.

“That’s pathetic,” says Perry looking directly into the camera. Later, he adds that “Obama’s socialist policies are bankrupting America...We must stop him now.”

Here’s the full ad:

As we have written before, Perry faces a decidedly daunting challenge as he seeks to reclaim his status as a top tier candidate in this presidential race.

Yes, Perry has the money that no candidate other than former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney can match — $15 million in the bank at the end of September — but the erosion of his numbers with self-identified conservative Republicans suggests he has no electoral base at the moment.

Attacking other Republican candidates — namely Romney — from such a position of weakness would almost certainly backfire on Perry. Voters don’t trust Perry as a messenger so any negative attacks against Romney or anyone else would likely boomerang against him.

And, even if the attacks did work, Republican voters would likely head to the campaigns of fast-rising former House Speaker Newt Gingrich or even businessman Herman Cain, not Perry.

Given that reality, Perry’s “attack Obama” strategy may be the best and only one he has left at his disposal. Obama is widely loathed by the Republican base and Perry’s willingness to use the sort of white-hot rhetoric — “pathetic”, “socialism” — that Romney has, to date, shied away from, amount to a wolfwhistle to the base by the Texas governor.

We’ve long believed that what Republican voters are searching for — and have yet to find — is a candidate willing to fight Obama on all fronts, at all times and with the sharpest possible rhetoric.

When he first announced his presidential bid, Perry was very clearly that guy. This latest ad suggests he is trying to get that mojo back and, in so doing, catapult himself back to relevance in the Republican presidential race.

 
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