The Austin Chronicle

Top 10 Rick Perry Campaign Misfires

By Richard Whittaker, January 6, 2012, News

1) One, Two ... Help! Perry's main task at the CNBC debate was to remember which three federal agencies he would dismantle. His answer? "Commerce, Education, and the – what's the third one there?" (The correct answer was "Energy." Oops.)

2) Double Dippin' Just as he was launching a slash-and-burn budget that laid off thousands of state employees, Perry claimed his state pension while still pulling in his salary as governor and living in a $10,000-a-month rented mansion.

3) Brokeback Perry Falling back on a standard GOP tactic ("If all else fails, bash gays"), Perry issued an ad lamenting the end of "don't ask, don't tell." It soon became the most "disliked" video on YouTube.

4) Head Figure Head You've heard the rumors about Rick Perry's sex life for years. Now Glen Maxey, the only openly gay state rep in Texas history, has committed them to print. It quickly became the No. 1 gay and lesbian nonfiction title for the Kindle.

5) Primary, What Primary? (Part 1) When the Republican Party of Texas agreed to move the primary date, it spared Texas the cost and strain of a bifurcated primary season, but by switching from March 6 to April 3, the GOP effectively denied Perry his only guaranteed Super Tuesday win.

6) Literacy Test Needed? In one speech in New Hampshire, Perry botched the date of the 2012 general election and the age (18) for federal voting. This is the man who has aggressively pushed for tougher voter registration laws.

7) Rats to the Sinking Ship Perry's campaign was supposed to be given a shot in the arm when he hired Karl Rove-wannabe Dave Carney and campaign capo Rob Johnson away from Newt Gingrich's camp. Then Gingrich's competent debate performances launched him to the top of the polls for weeks, while Carney and Johnson watched their new client's numbers flatline.

8) Primary, What Primary? (Part 2) It takes 10,000 signatures to get on the Virginia Republican primary ballot. In a startling lack of organization, Perry's camp missed that target; having failed to gain enough support to even get before voters, he sued.

9) Bum Steerage Conceding that many Texas journalists had tried to "circle the wagons" around Perry the candidate rather than acknowledge his sins on a national stage, Texas Monthly Editor Jake Silverstein awarded Perry the ultimate Texas political insult for his "oops" moment: Bum Steer of the Year. "We didn't want to," he sighed, "but we had to."

10) Numbers Hard In a last-ditch attempt to woo Iowa voters, Perry pledged to cut $5 trillion from the federal budget. The total budget is only $3.7 trillion – $1.3 trillion less than Perry wants to cut.

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