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Cain: 6,324 ... Perry: 2,494

Rick Perry's campaign fell hard and fast in 2012

By Richard Whittaker, Fri., Jan. 27, 2012

Cain: 6,324 ... Perry: 2,494
Photo by John Anderson

Farewell, presidential hopeful Rick Per­ry. On Jan. 19, the Texas governor folded up the tent on his miserable misfire of a campaign, announcing that he was endorsing Newt Gingrich and heading back to Texas. We chronicled our favorite flubs from his collapsing aspirations of 2011 during our end-of-year survey (see "Top 10 Rick Perry Campaign Misfires," Jan. 6), but now seems the right time to highlight the career-crushing mistakes he crammed into those final 19 days on the stump.

1) Iowa Owie: If the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus used Texas school accountability standards, count Perry as "Presidentially Unaccept­able." He limped over the line in fifth place with 10.3% in a state where he had been leading in August.

2) Will You, Won't You?: After his Iowa drubbing, rumors were circulating that his staff were sitting in bars as if the campaign were already over, and Perry himself was telling everyone he would decamp to Texas to consider his options. Instead, he just went for a jog and decided, yup, he was staying in for the long haul – which turned out to be a grand total of 16 days.

3) Iraq the Third: What's a Texas Republican presidential hopeful without a Gulf War? At the Jan. 7 ABC debate, Perry announced that he would send troops back into Iraq. Really, he actually said that.

4) No, No, New Hampshire: Accepting that the Northeast was always stony ground for his brand of good ol' boyism, Perry announced he was bypassing the Granite State's Jan. 10 vote and heading straight to South Carolina, which he declared to be his Alamo. The result? A mortifying 0.7% showing in the nation's first primary.

5) Perfect, Immobile Hair: On a Jan. 13 trip to the Squat 'n' Gobble in Bluffton, S.C., the governor seemed to take a question from a store mannequin. There was back-and-forth among the press whether Perry was joking or not, but the discussion just proved that no one took him seriously.

6) Oops, He Did it Again: Commerce, Edu­ca­tion, Energy: "Oops" became an Internet meme in November when Perry flubbed that list of three federal agencies he would shutter, but his talking-point memory failure was not a one-off. Phoning in to WTKS in Savannah, Ga., on Jan. 13, Perry said he would shutter Commerce, Edu­ca­tion, and ... Interior. Right number, wrong list.

7) No, Virginia: After failing to grab enough signatures to get on the Virginia ballot, Perry did what any critic of activist judges would do – ask the court to let him in the primary anyway. On Jan. 13, U.S. District Judge John Gibney rejected his lawyers' request, writing, "They played the game, lost, and then complained that the rules were unfair."

8) Evangelical Snub: Perry's campaign started with his bizarre stadium-sized tent revival meeting, the Response, and was supposed to be carried on the wings of evangelical votes. But when the religious right's leaders gathered, they threw their weight behind Rick "Google Me" Santorum instead. To add geographical insult to injury, their Jan. 14 meeting was in Texas.

9) Stuffed Turkey: Ignoring the fact that U.S.-Turk­ish relations are less tense than usual, during the Jan. 16 Fox News debate in South Carolina, Perry accused the Muslim nation and NATO member of being run by "Islamic terrorists." Even after withdrawing from the race, Perry refused to walk his claims back, sparking international uproar.

10) Bad Money After Worse: In a year of heavy spending and big money candidates, no one spent more for less result than Perry. He flushed away $62.11 per vote in New Hampshire, but that was nothing compared to the $480 per vote he spent in Iowa, making his campaign the worst return on investment in both states.

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