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Analysis: PERRY may pose biggest threat to Romney -Daily Record | Morris County NJ | AP Wire

August 12, 2011

Aug 12, 7:57 AM EDT

Analysis: Perry may pose biggest threat to Romney

By THOMAS BEAUMONT

AMES, Iowa (AP) — The biggest rumblings in the Republican presidential campaign are coming from Austin, Texas – 1,000 miles from the leadoff caucus state where front-runner Mitt Romney and seven opponents squared off ahead of an important test vote this weekend.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry sent word that he would join the race, casting a shadow over the debate Thursday night and threatening to upend the race.

Back in Iowa, Romney emerged unscathed with his leader-of-the-pack status intact after two feisty hours; his two Minnesota rivals – Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty – sparred repeatedly as each sought advantage ahead of Saturday’s Iowa straw poll.

Overall, the dynamics of the campaign did not change with a single debate. And they may not change when Saturday’s straw poll results are announced.

But the race could well change in the coming days as Perry dives in.

The Texan may pose the biggest threat yet to Romney.

Conservatives who make up the core of the GOP primary base view Romney skeptically on cultural issues, and he hasn’t been able to establish himself as the heavy favorite for the nomination even though he’s spent months promoting his background as a businessman and claiming that he alone has the know-how to create jobs to pull the country out of a period of high unemployment, rampant foreclosures and tumultuous financial markets.

Democrats are already taking aim at Perry.

“His record will get scrutinized,” David Axelrod, senior political adviser to President Barack Obama, said Friday. Axelrod suggested Perry was taking too much credit for Texas’ relatively healthy economy and job creation.

“He’s been the beneficiary down there of the boom in oil prices and increased military spending because of the wars,” Axelrod said on CBS’ “Early Show.” “I don’t think many people would attribute it to the leadership of the governor down there.”

Perry could benefit from GOP suspicion about Romney.

The Republican establishment has a lackluster view of Romney’s candidacy, leading deep-pocketed donors across the country to look for more candidates to draft into the race who could bridge the historical tension between the party’s social and economic wings. They couldn’t convince former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to run. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie repeatedly refused, too. And Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels declined overtures as well.

Enter Perry.

via Daily Record | Morris County NJ | AP Wire.

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