Let's Get Real, Republicans
Let's face it, fellow conservatives, there are only two Republican candidates who have a reasonable chance to beat Obama and go on to become an effective president: Romney and Gingrich. Conservative favorites Bachmann and Santorum are going nowhere, Perry and Paul have made fools of themselves, Huntsman has no support, and Cain doesn't know how to handle the bright lights. These 8 person debates seem nonsensical, but they have narrowed the field so we can now have some real and substantive, one-on-one debates. Let's just knock out all but Gingrich and Romney.
An ‘Oops’ From Perry in G.O.P. Presidential Debate
November 9, 2011 By JEFF ZELENY and ASHLEY PARKER NY Times (Excerpt)
ROCHESTER, Mich. — "Gov. Rick Perry of Texas arrived at the Republican presidential debate here on Wednesday night on a mission to get his candidacy back on track. The first hour passed without incident. The second hour did not.
He emphatically declared that he planned to eliminate three government agencies in Washington. But as he began to explain, he could think of only two.
“Commerce, Education,” Mr. Perry said before pausing for an uncomfortable moment as he looked from side to side, counting on his fingers and flipping through his notes.
As his rivals volunteered suggestions, a moderator asked Mr. Perry if he could name the third agency.
“The third one, I can’t,” he finally said, a sad look on his face, after 53 seconds had gone by. “Sorry. Oops.”
For any other candidate, the moment may have been quickly forgotten or easily explained. But for Mr. Perry, whose candidacy has been consistently undercut by his debate performances, the gravity of the matter grew obvious as chuckles in the Republican audience turned to gasps. The lapse reinforced negative stereotypes about his candidacy, a point that was made clear after the debate when he made a rare trip into an adjoining room to face reporters and try to brush away what had happened.
“I’m glad I had my boots on tonight,” Mr. Perry said, “because I sure stepped in it out there.”
Supporters of Mr. Perry groaned, with one contributor saying by e-mail: “It’s over, isn’t it?” One of his rivals, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, offered pity, declaring: “We all feel very badly for him.” And Republican operatives almost uniformly declared it as a sign of great trouble for his candidacy, with Mark McKinnon, an aide to former President George W. Bush, describing the moment as the “human equivalent of shuttle Challenger.”
“I think the biggest question now is whether or not he can raise any more real money,” said Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist. “A donor strike will totally cripple what’s left of his campaign.”
It remains an open question whether Mr. Perry will be able to move beyond the moment, particularly given that the video was already looping around the Internet and television broadcasts. But his path to the presidential nomination grew more difficult, and his rivals began furiously working to present themselves as the best alternative to Mitt Romney.
The lapse by Mr. Perry was the most memorable of a two-hour debate on CNBC that was otherwise dominated by polite exchanges over economic policy. It was not until several minutes later, when he received another turn, that he explained himself, saying: “By the way, that was the Department of Energy I was reaching for a while ago.”
It was clearly a blow to Mr. Perry just as he was investing heavily in reintroducing himself to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire through television advertising. It could be weeks before it is clear whether it has a permanent effect on his campaign, but at a minimum it left him facing additional questions about his candidacy.
“It was a political death knell,” said Sara Taylor Fagen, a Republican strategist who advised Mr. Bush. “There’s just no recovering from a moment like that when you’ve had such a bad record of debates.”
It was notable that Mr. Romney, who had aggressively tangled with Mr. Perry at the last debate, on Oct. 18, did not see a reason to confront him on Wednesday night."