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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Perry's Gift to Oppo

Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns write at Politico:

Rick Perry describes Social Security as a “violent” attack on core American values. He says Sarah Palin may have been right that the Affordable Care Act created death panels. He says it was “unprincipled” to establish the Department of Homeland Security.

That’s not the provocative, distorted language of a 2012 attack ad — at least, not yet. Rather, those are words right out of the Texas governor’s 2010 book, “Fed Up!” — a slim volume that may be one of the biggest gifts ever given to the opponents of a presidential candidate.

It’s a treasure trove of oppo research, a target so ripe that Perry himself pointed to it last year as prime evidence he wasn’t interested in running for president.


“This is just a really, really long paper trail and it’s one that was written for an entirely different purpose than a presidential election,” said Dan Schnur, a former adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign who is now director of USC’s Unruh Institute of Politics. “Just as Romney has to convince voters that he feels differently now than he did when he was governor of Massachusetts, … Perry needs to find a way to explain to people that some of these more provocative [statements] don’t represent his current thinking.”

A former student of mine concludes:
“Speaking from an opposition research perspective, if you wanted to pin someone down on their extreme views on Social Security, you would have to go to, you know, the University of Texas video archive and find the debate from his first state house campaign where he gives this outrageous quote on Social Security,” said Judd Legum, who was research director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. “Here, he put out a book … where he just lays it out very specifically.”