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Despite Bachmann’s Success, the Real GOP Race is Now Perry vs. Romney – Beth Reinhard – NationalJournal.com

August 14, 2011

Despite Bachmann’s Success, the Real GOP Race is Now Perry vs. Romney

By Beth Reinhard

August 14, 2011.

Until now, the biggest question looming over the 2012 Republican primary was who would emerge as the leading alternative to the nominal front-runner, Mitt Romney.

We now know the answer to that question: Rick Perry.

Sure, Perry jumped into the race only one day ago and needs to prove he’s worthy of the national stage. Yes, Michele Bachmann is the one who boxed Tim Pawlenty out of the race with her triumph in the Iowa Straw Poll on Saturday.

But it is the governor of the great big state of Texas, not the Minnesota congresswoman, who poses the biggest threat to Romney from here on out. That’s because Perry boasts that killer combination of assets: the power to grab hold of voters — which Bachmann shares — plus a concrete record of creating jobs. It’s the rhetoric plus the results, the inspiration layered on top of the perspiration.

The void in Bachmann’s resume was laid bare in Thursday’s Fox News debate, when she cited the “Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act’’ as one of her biggest accomplishments. In an interview on Sunday with CNN’s Candy Crowley, all she could point to was her education reform agenda as a state lawmaker in Minnesota.

“The Republican nominee and the next president of the United States is going to be Rick Perry or Mitt Romney,’’ said Fred Malek, a top Republican money man who ran George H.W. Bush’s 1992 campaign. “Michele Bachmann has struck a real chord on the issues important to conservatives, but what we need is a governor with proven record of job creation, deficit reduction, and other accomplishments.’’

A member of the House has not been crowned a party nominee since James Garfield in 1880. Bachmann’s victory in a mock, Midwestern election dominated by the fringes of the Republican Party only served to highlight her narrow appeal. In contrast, both Perry and Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, have won statewide elections with Democratic and independent votes.

via Despite Bachmann’s Success, the Real GOP Race is Now Perry vs. Romney – Beth Reinhard – NationalJournal.com.

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