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MEMO: Rick Perry: The Great Campaigner?

To: Sunday Show hosts & producers
From: Rodell Mollineau, President, American Bridge
RE: Rick Perry: The Great Campaigner?
Date: 8-19-11

Last week, Texas Governor Rick Perry burst onto the GOP Presidential scene, managing to step all over the Ames straw poll by making his official announcement the same day.

By waiting until after the straw poll to enter the race, Perry avoided answering the tough questions that voters care about. Rather than use his first week in the race to show Americans where he stands on today’s most pressing issues, he upstaged himself with a series of gaffes and extreme statements, revealing that he’s just not ready for prime time:

Accuses scientists of manipulating climate data to secure funding.

“You may have a point there because, I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data, so that they will have dollars rolling into their, to their projects. I think we’re seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists who are coming forward and questioning, the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.

Threatens the Federal Reserve Chairman for the “almost treasonous” act of…doing his job.

“If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we — we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous — or treasonous in my opinion.

Calls evolution “a theory that’s out there” but “ it’s got some gaps in it.”

“Here your mom was asking about evolution, and you know it’s a theory that’s out there, and it’s got some gaps in it. In Texas we teach both creationsim and evolution in our public schools.”

Walks back HPV vaccine mandate.

The fact of the matter is that I didn’t do my research well enough to understand that we needed to have a substantial conversation with our citizenry.” 

Perry’s performance to date shows that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a serious candidate for President of the United States. But while he was on the campaign trail espousing an aversion to science and threatening federal officials, he managed to once again avoid answering substantive questions about his record. Here are some things to consider as you cover Rick Perry:

Contrary to the rosy picture of a Texas jobs “miracle” that Perry has tried to paint, the truth about the Texas economy is a story of rapid population growth, low-wage jobs, and an expansion of government.

Though purportedly a champion of “state-based” solutions, Perry has taken a number of stances – on immigration, property rights, government mandates, and spending – at odds with the Tea Party.

The revolving door in Perry’s office spins both ways, a lucrative arrangement for Perry, his staffers, and his campaign contributors, from his repeated ethical lapses.