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Who had the worst week in Washington? Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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By Chris Cillizza

It was supposed to be Rick Perry’s week.

After enduring some of the worst press coverage this side of Redskins owner Daniel Snyder over the past month, the Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate was set to unveil his flat-tax plan — a sort of “no duh” political winner in a GOP primary fight.

Instead of spending the week talking about that proposal, however, Perry found himself repeatedly driving around the rhetorical cul-de-sac that is the debate over whether President Obama is a U.S. citizen. (Breaking news: He is.)

Perry started the controversy when he told Parade magazine that during a recent dinner with Donald Trump — the man who brought birtherism into the national spotlight — the subject of the president’s birthplace came up. “I don’t have a definitive answer,” Perry said of Obama’s origins.

Doubling down, inexplicably, Perry explained to CNBC’s John Harwood that he was flirting with birtherism because “it’s fun to — to poke at him a little bit and say, ‘Hey, how about — let’s see your grades and your birth certificate.’ ”

So when Perry held a news conference Tuesday in South Carolina to tout his flat-tax plan, it wasn’t any big surprise that one of the first questions was about — you guessed it! — the president’s birth country.

That same day, a New York Times-CBS News poll showed Perry running in fifth place in the Republican primary contest. Gut punch.

Rick Perry, for using your cowboy boots to step all over your campaign’s preferred message, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at chris.cillizza@wpost.com .

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