I do way better guessing what Republicans will do than what the President will do.
First, I don’t think Perry had as strong a performance tonight as he could have. He stumbled several times. Romney had a stronger performance — the strongest of anyone on stage in fact. But then, Romney has been in this dog and pony show since 2007. Perry is just stepping up to this level. He made no major mistakes, but could have been stronger on the HPV issue and a few other issues.
Second, it is clear Perry is the front runner given the pile on from the other candidates. It was not just pushed by MBNBC and the Politico. The other candidates took willful potshots against Rick Perry. Perry, despite some stumbles and the pile on by the moderators and other participants, held his own and will only get stronger the more of these he does. And if he doesn’t? Goodbye frontrunner status.
Finally, I think Mitt Romney’s “play it safe” strategy is about to come crashing down on his. In the exchange between Perry and Romney on social security and ponzi schemes, Perry gave a less than stellar answer. But Romney then tried to pile on by rejecting the idea that social security is a failure.
Republicans should pay attention to this. Mitt Romney proclaimed making several generations of Americans dependent on the federal government for their retirement a success. That may play well to Washington, D.C. But it increasingly doesn’t even play well with senior citizens worried about their grandchildren’s futures.