The (Premature?) Perry Postmortem

Politico published a behind-the-scenes, anonymously-sourced campaign obituary for Rick Perry. But isn’t a bit too soon?
Tue January 3, 2012 10:58 pm
Charlie Neibergall | Associated Press

Today is the day Rick Perry will either surprise or disappoint in Iowa, but his New Year's gift from Politico was a behind-the-scenes, anonymously-sourced, 2000-plus word campaign obituary, with Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman exploring the gulf between some of the Perry staffers, including longtime consultant David Carney and Joe Allbaugh, a more recent addition to the team.

"Normally people wait for the failure to actually happen first, but sometimes there are good reasons to get ahead of the curve — as Rick Perry’s campaign did with a series of leaks to Politico," wrote Ed Morrissey of  Hot Air .

“There has never been a more ineptly orchestrated, just unbelievably subpar campaign for president of the United States than this one,” one senior Perry adviser said. (This has quickly become the most-repeated quote from the story.) 

Among the other allegations and revelations:

  • As recently as October, the Perry campaign was not "executing the most rudimentary elements of a modern presidential campaign," including polling, focus groups, debate prep and opposition research on their own man (to anticipate attacks).
  • The campaign's failure to anticipate how Perry's support of the DREAM Act would play nationally was a direct result of the above.
  • Anita Perry played a large roll in the de facto replacement of Carney with Allbaugh.
  • "Email chains were filled with a couple dozen staffers debating how exactly the wording of a Tweet in Perry’s name should read."
  • The campaign's public hint that the governor might skip debates, as he did in his last gubernatorial campaign against Democrat Bill White, didn't play well with the new advisers. "'All the sudden you see in the paper that we may not do debates anymore,' said one Perry official with a sigh. 'Awesome.'"
  • On top of that, the article suggests that Perry's infamous "oops" brainlock was due to the fact that he may have been distracted just prior to the debate by a conversation in which some of his longtime staffers asked the governor to keep Carney from being further exiled. 

Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan denied that last story, and also told Politico, “the people who are giving you that information don’t know what they’re talking about and if they had any courage they would be speaking on the record." And Carney had no comment, sagely writing in an email that "not much good can come from process stories like this.”

On Monday, as Michael Calderone of the  Huffington Post noted, "Perry told MSNBC's Chuck Todd . . . that he's 'not convinced [the Politico report is] a true story,' given the reliance on anonymous sources." The governor then went face-to-face with Politico's chief white House correspondent Mike Allen in the video below:

Neverthless, Perry (or rather, his campaign staff)  still thinks enough of Haberman and Politico that  the campaign sent out  a press release on Monday highlighting one of her stories about Rick Santorum.

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