This Week's Big Question: Will Rick Perry's Presidential Campaign Survive?

Last we checked in on Rick Perry's quixotic second bid for president, our erstwhile governor had picked a fight with the 2016 Republican field's irresistible force, Donald Trump. Perry, desperate to get into August 6's Fox News-sponsored first GOP debate, was doing everything he could to raise his national profile, because national poll numbers, meaningful as they are five months before a single Iowa caucus gets underway, are the metric Fox is using to see who gets in. Top 10 candidates get to take the stage at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland during prime time. Everybody else gets stuck at the kids table pseudo-debate slated for Thursday afternoon.

Trumps' in, as are Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, the guys seen as contenders. Perry's campaign might not be completely dead if he doesn't get into the main scrum but it might be close, so Governor Goodhair has thrown all manner of shit at the wall over the past week in hopes that something, anything would stick.

On July 25, Perry responded to the Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater shooting by suggesting people should be allowed to bring guns into movie theaters.

"I believe that, with all my heart, that if you have the citizens who are well trained, and particularly in these places that are considered to be gun-free zones, that we can stop that type of activity, or stop it before there's as many people that are impacted as what we saw in Lafayette," Perry said to CNN's Jake Tapper.

Perry backed up his calls for firearm wielding moviegoers defending themselves in the dark with legitimately well-received speech on economic policy, which was weird.

Speaking at the Yale Club in New York City on Wednesday, Perry stressed the need for increased regulation of large banks and consumer protection from exotic mortgage products alongside touting more traditionally conservative ideas like privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Asked about Trump, also on Wednesday, Perry suggested that they have a pull-up contest.

"Let's get a pull-up bar out there and let's see who can do the most pull-ups," Perry said.

Thursday, for the first time in awhile, Perry reverted to his distracted, bumbling 2012 form during an early morning MSNBC performance. Asked about how congressional Republican leadership was doing, Perry said this: 

"Well, obviously, I think they’re doing a poor job of, uh, making Americans believe that they can actually make Congress work and work with the president. Now part of that is the president’s problem, and I think — one of the things I learned as governor is you’ve got to reach out across the party lines. I’d rather have half a loaf than no loaf, and right now we’re getting a lot of no loaf. Matter of fact, we’re not even getting a slice, at this particular point in time. So… a president that actually wants to work with Congress, and I think Congress has to cross that line too."

Still, after all that, Perry was not securely in the debate field, remaining locked in a battle for the 10th lectern, according to a polling average from Real Clear Politics, about 2.2 percent of those polled preferring him. Right now, that's good enough to make Perry the first loser — 11th place. He has until Tuesday to worm his way out of his predicament, and it seems he's going to rely on red meat to make sure his extensive debate prep doesn't go to waste. 

Friday afternoon, Perry piled on the anti-Planned Parenthood bandwagon, again making use of the dubiously edited videos released over the past few weeks showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the donation of fetal tissue for research purposes.

“With the release of a fourth video showing a Planned Parenthood doctor discussing the sale of body parts from aborted babies, the organization’s carefully constructed façade continues to crumble. We can no longer allow the atrocities committed by an organization that receives state and federal tax dollars, and that receives special tax treatment from the federal government. That is why today, I am calling for the revocation of the federal nonprofit charters of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its political wing, Planned Parenthood Action.

The Obama administration targets groups with the word ‘patriot’ in their name but does nothing to an organization that cuts apart and sells the body parts of dead babies. This cannot stand. It is long past time for the mirage around Planned Parenthood’s true activities to fade," Perry said.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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