The spin on the Perry-Romney crossfire
October 18th, 2011
10:49 PM ET
3 years ago

The spin on the Perry-Romney crossfire

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - So who won the war of words between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over illegal immigration, jobs and health care?

It depends on whom you ask.

Top advisers from both campaigns made their case post-debate in the Spin Room.

"I think Rick Perry had a strategy coming into this debate to kill Mitt, and he ended up killing himself. I say that based that on the audience reaction," said top Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom.

"I think what they saw in Rick Perry was very desperate candidate, someone who revived a candidacy that is sinking beneath the waves. So he came armed with negative attacks and personal cheap shots that were booed by the audience at every turn," added Fehrnstorm.

But Ray Sullivan, Perry's communications director, said the Texas governor wasn't too aggressive in his attacks against Romney, adding that "I think the governor spoke from the heart."

"These debates are set up to be lively. This was a lively one. The governor is passionate about his record and passionate about calling folks every now and then on their records," added Sullivan.

Asked if Perry was presidential in his approach at the debate, Sullivan said "I think he was Rick Perry in his approach and that's a good thing for us."


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Rick Perry
soundoff (258 Responses)
  1. Dan J

    Rick Perry was desperately searching for Romney's "HPV." He didn't find it. Epic Fail.

    October 18, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  2. Kyle

    I think the Romney advisor had it right. Perry looked desperate. Getting booed by a conservative audience when you're the conservative candidate is a VERY BAD THING!

    October 18, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  3. iTALIAN NONNO

    We got a lovely bunch of coconuts.

    October 18, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  4. Apples and Oranges? Perry's a LEMON

    I'm listening to the commentators on CNN following the debate – I do not understand how anyone can say Perry had a good night. I have not seen one single debate that he has done well in. He never answers any of the questions directly that are asked. He side steps, dances around, side steps again. He danced all around the question about "would he repudiate the introduction that Pastor Jeffers made about Romney and Mormonism?" Simple questions Perry – all you need to do is say yes or no. His side stepping made it clear he doesn't want to offend the Pastor.

    Instead of offering any solid ideas or solutions, he chooses to viciously attack, in a very personal way, Governor Romney.

    Cain talked a lot about apples and oranges, but Perry was the obvious lemon.

    October 18, 2011 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  5. thomas

    What a comedy show ,
    Now Mitt , Rick and Newt can go over to the Venetian and preform with the Blue Man Group !

    Where is a candidate like Dwight D. Eisenhower ?

    October 18, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  6. DocinPA

    Romney so red in the face. He lost it. Perry with the look of school yard tough guy, like he had all he could do to keep himself from haulin' off and beltin' Mitt right in the kisser. Of course, this is what the red meat Teapublicans came for. The lions in the coliseum going after the Christians. Except, there were only starving lions looking to tear each other apart.

    October 18, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  7. Loathstheright

    After the debate, columnist David Gergen says, "The big winner tonight was President Obama" who "should be celebrating tonight" after watching the debate.

    October 18, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  8. Larry L

    Perry will never have a good night because he is out of his league. Here in Texas the folksy, "aw shucks folks" demeanor works – because we're too narrow-minded and uneducated to be comfortable with an intellectual. The Republicans have put together a ridiculous group of right-wingers pandering to their most active voters. I plan to strongly support the President because he continues to be the only serious candidate in the competition! He cares about all Americans – not just the crazy right-wingers and the ultra-rich.

    October 18, 2011 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  9. T'sah from Virginia

    Santorum – Angry but able to back up his points
    MITTens – Angrier and Not Presidential
    Perry – Angry and angrily trying to make an angry comeback
    Paul – Angry and Crazier than Craziest!
    Cain – L-L-L - "LIVELY – LYING – LOSER" and Crazy
    Bachmann – Gotta FACT CHECK her Lying angry ASH
    ginGRINCH – Angry just to be angrier than all of the angry ones above

    I will stick with President Obama – 2012!!!

    October 18, 2011 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  10. claudial

    Was that a GOP debate or an audition for the Jerry Springer Show? They all lost!

    October 18, 2011 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  11. NameJean

    I watched a circus tonight instead of a debate only a circus is usually fun. I am sick of hearing about Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan which is bad for the country especially poor people. He need to build that electrified fence and sit on it. All the candidates looked and sound pitiful. Michelle Bachman does not seems to understand the simple questions she was asked because she never answered one. Spending all her time bashing the President is so lame. I had to change the channel. We are in for a rough and tough time if anyone of these clowns become President .

    October 18, 2011 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  12. Four and The Door

    Rick Perry did himself no favors tonight. Mitt Romney held his own against some people obviously admitting by their actions that this is their last stand. Expect to see some drop out soon. Herman Cain showed why he has climbed the leader board. We have seen America's next President debate tonight. Which one was it?

    October 19, 2011 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  13. MzTee

    After watching the debate tonight, I am convinced that Barack Obama is definitely the best candidate. Go OBAMA 2012!!! He is truly the real winner here.

    October 19, 2011 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  14. Gemini Girl

    The most presidential of them all wasn't even there, Jon Huntsman! Cain's poll numbers will begin to go down, his 999 is not going to work, would never pass even if he became (heaven forbid!) president. He wants to introduce a federal sales tax on all states, but there are states that don't have a sales tax right now! They would never stand for an increase of a 9 percent sales tax. And this would be in addition to what most states already put on products! This is so crazy. And 999 would affect negatively the lower income makers, not the higher, as a matter of fact, the rich people's taxes would go down! I say that the Repubs didn't expect Cain to become a front-runner, and now don't know what to do about it! Romney would fare the best against Obama – the Dems don't want Romney to win the GOP nomination – and yet the Repubs like him the LEAST! What a conumdrum! I am getting my popcorn ready, and plan to vote for Prez Obama!

    October 19, 2011 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  15. Hal

    Nothing new in this debate. It didn't matter what Anderson Cooper asked, most of the time they just ignored the question and talked about something unrelated that they just felt had to be said instead. It would be nice to get straight answers to questions asked.
    Perry is done as far as I am concerned. He was rude, and as unpresidential as he could be. The way he looked at Romney I thought he was going to hit him. There is no way I would vote for anyone with a temper like that. Is that the kind of guy you want with their finger on the button during an international crisis? No way!

    October 19, 2011 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  16. No TEA Please!

    Epic fail!
    C'mon America, we can do better than all these candidates combined.

    October 19, 2011 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  17. MadInCT

    Rick Perry being Rick Perry is supposed to be a good thing? Wow! Have our standards and expectations sunk so low that we now heartily applaud a simpleton for being, well, a simpleton? God bless America...with smarter people! Soon!

    October 19, 2011 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  18. Eric of Reseda

    Perry is out of his league. He has just been exposed BIG-time. He can rise in Texas' political machine, but this ain't Texas. This is the United States of America.

    October 19, 2011 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  19. Gemini Girl

    I agree with NameJean that Michelle Bachmann spent all her time putting down the president & his ideas. She was one-note Bachmann. Santorum did better than ever, I think he tried to paint himself as the "family" candidate since no one else had tried to claim that title previously. I think Romney won the debate, and Perry was awful. Hubby & I can't stand him. He sounds so phony. We need another Texan-shoot-from-the-hip like we need a hole in the head. And Cain is beyond arrogance. I I like what Stephen Colbert said on TV today about Newt. He said that Cain is ahead 27 percent, and that Newt is 27 percent head! Too funny! Paul is out there, but I can understand why people like him, but they have to look deeper in his case.

    October 19, 2011 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  20. Mark

    @Claudial, agreed, LOL if that was the erry Springer show, Mitt and Perry would have been smacking each other with chairs. I am not big on Obama but i was impressed with none of these clowns. Is this really the best the GOP has????

    October 19, 2011 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  21. Emeka

    Rick Perry thinks he made a case for himself by rudely attacking Romney. But from the audience's reactions, i thought Perry is done. The booing of Perry's ill-fated attacks shows that he is so done that a fork needs to be stuck on him. Done like a fully cooked steak.

    October 19, 2011 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  22. Mark Scherer

    vote perry...i wanna a job and not wefare

    October 19, 2011 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  23. pdq

    Romney was clearly statesmanlike, even when he was defending his speaking rights. I like the way he looks at whoever is speaking and appears to be really interested in the person talking. Leadership exudes from him and it's benevolent. Cooper loved it when the guys were verbally sparring and let them go on. Obviously, it makes good news for Obama's team – or that's what Cooper is thinking. Bad demeanor for a moderator, but Romney will win anyway.

    October 19, 2011 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  24. mike milton hall

    Well It was not Perry- and Cain is a liar avoiding the sales tax question because what he does not want you to know under his plan some people will pay nearly 20% in sales tax– no thanks. Bachman is a joke so is Rick. That leaves MItt and He may not be perfect but He does have Business experience and not a career politician like Perry. Perry showed tonite he is not ready to be president yet. That leaves Mitt and Between Mitt and Obama I would have to choose Mitt

    October 19, 2011 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  25. An easy choice

    Every debate makes it more clear that Romney is the clear choice for America. He's smart, believes in America, has plans that will actually pass in congress, and can communicate clearly. He can also LISTEN!, unlike Perry. Perry is sometimes ridiculous in his comments. My second choice would be Herman Cain. He should be Romney's vice president.

    October 19, 2011 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
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