What started as a trickle of names yesterday turned into a flood. By dinner time a whole new cast of characters had been hired onto Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign.
While there is no sign that David Carney or campaign manager Rob Johnson has been dismissed, it is clear the campaign will now be run by a former key adviser to George W. Bush, Joe Allbaugh. (A Perry spokeswoman confirmed via e-mail last night: “Dave Carney is general consultant, Ray Sullivan is communications director and Mark Miner is national press secretary.”)
In perhaps the most damning account of the disarray in the Perry camp, Texas Monthly reported:
[Sunday] Perry called Allbaugh and asked him to come to his home. Allbaugh came and Perry asked him to lead the campaign. Allbaugh agreed. At the time, the rest of the Perry team was working on the candidate’s economic plan. Well, sort of. As of 3 p.m. yesterday, there was no economic plan, even though it was scheduled for a rollout in the immediate future. Allbaugh told Perry not to talk about the plan until he knew what was in it, and he had to know it well enough to explain it.
That this simple step had not occurred to the Perry team is rather shocking, although it was clear from the shoddy work on the energy plan that nobody knew what they were doing when it came to federal issues that required a degree of knowledge that went beyond talking points.
Along with Allbaugh came a slew of expensive new advisers. The campaign’s press release listed the new team:
“I am honored to have these experienced professionals joining our growing campaign team,” said Gov. Perry. “These experienced advisors will play an instrumental role in helping me share my vision to get America working again with the nation, and I am proud to have their support as our campaign expands.”
●Joe M. Allbaugh managed or advised numerous political campaigns, including George W. Bush’s 1994 gubernatorial campaign and 2000 presidential campaign, and Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign. Allbaugh also served as director of FEMA from February 2001 through March 2003. He is the founder of the Allbaugh International Group, LLC, and serves on several corporate boards.
●Curt Anderson is a partner with OnMessage, Inc. Anderson previously served in the White House under President Reagan as the associate director of public liaison. Anderson also worked as political director at the Republican National Committee under Haley Barbour. He was a senior strategist for Steve Forbes in 1999, directed coalition outreach efforts for the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2000, led the RNC’s independent expenditure ad campaign to re-elect President Bush in 2004, was a member of the ad team for Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2007/2008, and led the RNC’s independent expenditure campaign against President Obama in the fall of 2008. Prior to starting OnMessage, Inc., Curt held many campaign posts including NRSC Coalition Director, NRSC Southern Regional Director, RNC Midwest Regional Director and RNC Political Director. In 2010 Anderson co-authored Governor Jindal’s new book, “Leadership and Crisis.”
●Stanton Anderson currently serves as senior counsel to the president and CEO of the United States Chamber of Commerce, and previously served as executive vice president and chief legal officer. He also served as chairman of the Chamber’s Campaign for Free Enterprise. Anderson is a former chairman of Global USA, Inc., a consulting company he founded in 1982. He has managed a number of Republican conventions and served as counsel to the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980. Anderson is a part member of the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations and the Presidential Commission on Personnel Interchange. He also chaired the U.S. delegation to the United Nations conference on New and Renewable Energy Resources in 1981.
●Tony Fabrizio is the principal of Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates, and is an expert on public opinion and politics and one of the nation’s leading GOP pollsters. In addition to serving as pollster and strategist for Senator Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign, Fabrizio has worked for more than a dozen senators, more than 50 congressmen, a number of governors and other statewide elected officials. In 2010, Fabrizio served as pollster and strategist for Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s successful campaign. Fabrizio also served as pollster and strategist for the independent expenditure effort of the Republican Governors Association in the Georgia governor’s race in 2010. Additionally, Fabrizio and his firm served as pollsters and strategists for the National Republican Congressional Committee’s IE efforts in 12 congressional districts, resulting in the election of 11 new GOP members of Congress.
●Jim Innocenzi is a founding partner of Sandler-Innocenzi, an award-winning national political advertising firm. Throughout the firm’s 28-year history, Jim has been the lead creative force behind dozens of high profile political campaigns, advising many governors, senators, and members of Congress. Some of his more recent clients include: Governors Dave Heineman of Nebraska and Butch Otter of Idaho; Congressmen Tom Rooney (FL), John Mica (FL), Mike Turner (OH) and Steve Buyer (IN); Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis (WY); and former GOP leader Adam Putnam (FL). Jim also served briefly on the John McCain for President Ad Council.
●Fred Maas is the founder and CEO of Pacific EcoCompanies, LLC, a San-Diego based firm which specializes in investments and the development of sustainable buildings, communities and clean technologies. Maas has participated in national, state and local politics for more than 30 years, and worked for numerous prominent political figures, including John McCain, Bob Dole, Jack Kemp, Pete du Pont, Richard Lugar and Mitch Daniels.
●Nelson Warfield is the founder of Warfield & Company, the national media firm, which helped secure wins in 2010 for Gov. Rick Scott in Florida, Sen. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Congressman Tim Scott in South Carolina. Warfield is a veteran of President Reagan’s White House staff. In 1996, he was the national press secretary for Bob Dole’s presidential campaign. He has also served in numerous leadership positions within the Republican Party, from county committeeman to executive director of the Maryland GOP.
These are old old-guard Republican veterans who now, in the 11 weeks until the Iowa caucuses, must turn Perry’s campaign around. News also broke Monday that Perry was going up in the air in Iowa with TV ads. It’s essential for him to move out of single digits if he is to survive past the Jan. 3 caucuses.
Carney, a New Hampshire native, still had Perry traveling to the Granite State. Savvy political operatives will likely deliver the tough news to Perry: He’s got to win or come close in Iowa and win South Carolina. If not, he’ll lack the momentum or resources to compete in the expensive media state of Florida 10 days later.
Today he’ll roll out his economic plan, which may or may not be as detailed and substantive as the old team let on. The new team has its work cut out. On the to-do list:
●Lure back Perry’s conservative base, which has defected to Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.);
●Master the intricacies of his economic plan so he can speak about it and debate it on Nov. 9, a debate moderated by CNBC.
●Learn enough foreign policy to be credible in the Nov. 15 foreign policy-only debate.
●Essentially re-introduce himself and improve his favorability ratings so that voters are willing to listen to his message.
Can he do it all in the 11 weeks before the Iowa caucuses? It will be an uphill battle, considering he faces not just Mitt Romney but the slew of more conservative candidates.
The plain truth is that Perry has yet to win a straw poll or deliver a “wow” speech. Perhaps he and his new team can figure out out to rearrange all the pieces, repackage their candidate and introduce a compelling message. But in the end it is Perry whom a plurality of Republican primary voters must trust and like. Right now they don’t.