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RICK PERRY – The Great Debater – National Review Online

September 2, 2011

The Great Debater

Rick Perry’s aggressive, colloquial speaking style may serve him well in the debate.

BRIAN BOLDUC

SEPTEMBER 2, 2011 12:00 P.M.

If his past behavior is any indication, when Gov. Rick Perry debates his Republican rivals on September 7, he’ll treat them pretty ugly.

Although the Texan refused to debate his Democratic opponent in last year’s election, his earlier performances show he loves a good fight.

Not that he comes out swinging. Rather, he loosens up over time. And when he’s at his most relaxed, he goes in for the kill.

In 2002, for instance, Perry faced businessman Tony Sanchez in the general election. At the start of their debate, the governor played it safe: He mostly ignored Sanchez’s swipes and listed his accomplishments with a pleasant, steady smile.

When a panelist queried Sanchez about a bank of his that was under investigation, Sanchez asserted, “There were two federal judges and three federal agencies who said management and directors weren’t involved [in the wrongdoing]. . . . So I feel very good.”

“Mr. Sanchez, you shouldn’t feel good,” a solemn Perry replied, shaking his head. “You shouldn’t feel good when the federal authorities tell you that there is drug money that came into your bank in cash in suitcases. And then you sent the money to Panama at the request of those drug dealers. . . . You failed the test of leadership.”

Later, Perry lightened up. After Sanchez criticized Perry’s environmental policies, the governor noted, “What Mr. Sanchez didn’t tell you is that he recently told a Corpus Christi newspaper that he would copy Europe and allow Texans only two ice cubes per drink.” As chuckles rippled through the audience, Perry held up two fingers — and half-heartedly suppressed a grin — to illustrate his point. “That’s his conservation plan.” He then shot a glance at his opponent and quipped, “Mr. Sanchez, you’ve been spending too much time in Europe.”

via The Great Debater – Brian Bolduc – National Review Online.

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