After three debate performances that portrayed Texas Governor Rick Perry as bumbling and unprepared, he is reportedly using at least a portion of his massive $17 million in campaign funds to polish his image for future rhetorical showdowns.
According to a recent New York Times report, the Governor is practicing for the debates to come by “re-examining” his statements of position on immigration issues and getting ready for attacks from other GOP contenders who have rallied against him in past debates. Reportedly, a Perry aide even acts as a stand-in for Mitt Romney — the candidate’s media-proclaimed adversary — in practice debates.
Most reports indicate that Perry’s strategy for winning the GOP primary is focused on highlighting the Texas economy, vilifying Romney as a wealthy, Mormon elitist and painting himself as the honest, straightforward “everyman.”
Perry’s latest campaign ad, a selection of clips from Romney speeches, proclaims of the former Massachusetts Governor: “Even the richest man cannot buy back his past.” Some people contend that this is a bold statement for a candidate who has been criticized for an executive order in Texas requiring teenage girls to get vaccinations, questionable relationships to Texas lobbyists who largely contributed to his gubernatorial campaigns and an immigration policy that provides tuition assistance for illegal aliens in Texas.
Perry refuses to acknowledge his critics; he recently said in an interview with PARADE magazine when asked what he thought of those who question his electability: “Well, I disregard that. Americans are looking for somebody to stand up and tell them the truth, and I have a record to back it up. Ultimately, if I can explain my heart, my jobs record, and my philosophy to Americans, I’m pretty confident that I’ll win.”