A poor choice of words by former Massachussetts governor Mitt Romney gave Rick Perry’s presidential campaign a rare win in daily grind of presidential primary coverage, as CNN (and everybody else assigned to cover Perry) reported.

“I like being able to fire people,” Romney said in an appearance Monday, seven small words taken out of context from a statement about health insurance and individual choice. The Perry campaign quickly looped into an MP3 (reminiscent of Paul Hardcastle’s old Reagan-quoting hit “Nineteen”) that can be downloaded for use as a mobile ringtone.  

Romney’s actual quote, as CNN also reported, was:

I want people to be able to own their own insurance if they wish to, and to buy it for themselves and perhaps keep it the rest of their life, and to choose among different policies offered from companies across the nation. I want individuals to have their own insurance. That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. It also means that if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. You know, if someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I want to say ‘You know, I’m going to go get someone else to provide that service to me.’ So, that’s one thing I would change.

Perry still drew blood with both the ringtone and more expansive attacks on Romney’s past as venture capitalist. As Andrew Sullivan writes, that probably doesn’t matter in the long run for Perry, but might be helpful to Barack Obama.

If [such attacks] can work against Romney in a Republican primary, imagine what could be done in a general election. Even the hardest of hardcore Republicans, like Perry, realize that this is now a populist election and their likeliest nominee is a plutocrat who stumbles every time he tried to relate to regular folks.

You may have read that in New Hampshire, where Perry has all but ceased campaigning, he now trails marginalized former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, who has not been invited to participate in any of the Republican presidential primary debates. Roemer was in sixth place with two percent while Perry was in seventh with one percent.

But as Dave Weigel of Slate noted, when you’re at the very bottom of a poll of five hundred likely voters, the difference are almost meaningless (and, apparently, percentages are rounded up): in terms of actual numbers, Roemer had the support of eight people, while Perry trailed with six. (Romney led the Suffolk University poll with 33 percent which was 166 voters.)

Politico‘s Jake Sherman reported that Perry crossed paths with a non-supporter during a restaurant campaign stop in Anderson, SC.

A young woman “posed for a photo with the Texas governor while saying it is “good to see someone as homophobic and racist as you,” Sherman wrote. “He smiled, took the photo and moved on.”