On a certain local man's 65th birthday, The New York Times wonders whether Dubya and Gov. RIck Perry's relationship will help or hurt the latter's more-n-likely run for the White House. After all, they're frienemies now -- have been for years, with Perry insisting since at least '07 that "George Bush was never a fiscal conservative," which used to get some Republicans in trouble. A few days after The Los Angeles Times covered the same subject, Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny road-map their breakup thusly:
On government spending, immigration and education, Mr. Perry's criticisms of Mr. Bush have given him cachet with conservatives, especially with Tea Party voters who blame the former president for allowing spending and the reach of government to grow rapidly.
Those criticisms have burnished the Perry image as less prone to ideological compromise or a fuzzy "compassionate" brand of conservatism, an appealing trait to those Republican primary voters seeking purity in their nominee. And they have helped Mr. Perry escape the shadow of Mr. Bush, whose sponsorship, along with that of his chief political strategist, Karl Rove, was critical to Mr. Perry's rise.
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On a related note: A Friend of Unfair Park sends this press release issued yesterday by Americans for Rick Perry, which says the governor's peoples have hired Craig Schoenfeld to exec-direct the Iowa organization. Who he? A former Newt Gingrich campaign worker who "served on President Bush's 2000 Iowa Caucus and general election teams, managing the President's general election campaign in the State of Iowa as Executive Director of Iowa Victory 2000." See? Related.