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. BB

    to sum it -up PATHETIC!!

    October 19, 2011 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  2. Tracy in Texas

    While I am not naturally a republican voter, I try and keep an open mind to listen and consider other arguments. I did not hear any serious policy positions or plausible solutions in tonight's debate. I heard rhetoric. swagger, pontification, and oversimplification of complex issues. Lastly, I recognize that the candidates are seeking nomination of their party; but it seem imprudent to totally alienate voters who may disagree with their positions.

    October 19, 2011 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  3. Tom

    I didn't see the debate, but, from the comments above, it sounds as if the Republican candidates for president of the USA are all a bunch of losers.

    October 19, 2011 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  4. kaitlinc

    Santorum and Perry seemed desperate to bash Mtt, but Mitt held his own Perry looked small and vindictive when he kept pushing Mitt about his hiring an "illegal" lawn worker. Did Perry really think that this would balance out his own support of giving tuition breaks to known illegals in Texas?? Cain defended his 9-9-9 plan fairly well, but he hurt himself by misspeaking about negotiating the release of terrorists. Although he corrected himself, this will be used as fuel by those who criticize his lack of international experience. As usual, Newt was knowledgeable, clever, but unelectable.

    October 19, 2011 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  5. logic in LA

    The only winner tonight was Newt! He remained civil- complimentary of both parties and his opponents and also blamed both sides for for our problems. That is what makes for a good President

    October 19, 2011 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  6. larry

    Romney showed some emotion and was clearly being bullied, with Anderson – the supposed moderator – completely asleep on the job. Lost a great deal of respect for Perry and Santorum this evening – clearly not people capable of leading a diverse nation. Cain has yet to make his 999 slogan make any sense to me – even bigger breaks for the rich and intolerable increase of taxes on the poor. Others never were serious contenders.

    October 19, 2011 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  7. Anonymous

    After 6 years of doing nothing but run for President Mr Romney has a quick rehearsed smooth answer for every question. He is the epitome of phoney, but it works. Perry needs to ignore him and just answer questions and explain his positions. Perry is very real, not rehearsed at all and IT IS KILLING HIM. There are very good answers to the fake charges about attracting illegals to the state, and I understand when he talks to people in small groups a they find his explanations very satifactory, BUT he needs some phoney. Some "fake" smoothness. You don't have time in a debate to go back and forth with a voter. You need a quick memorized sentence, when they answer with this you say that etc. Romney has all that in spades When Rick points out that Romney had illegals working at his house, the newspaper caught him and a year later there were still illegals working there what can Romney say?? HE LAUGHS HHAHAHAHAH Oh my Rick .. Then, as Romney keeps blathering about Gosh Rick, see these are the rules here... He breaks a rule that in any REAL DEBATE that was being scored.... would get him disqualified completely. HE TOUCHES THE OTHER DEBATER!! Ever see that in a debate??? While your thinking about that, get a stopwatch and time Romney talking about how Gosh Rick are you going to let me talk at all??? See I get a minute here?? Right. He talked AT LEAST 4 times as long as Perry while complaining about not getting to talk. And BTW Mitt, that bit about You didn't hire any illegals.... you hired a company that hired them for you? B S and about how Golly a poor little home owner hows lil ole you sposed to know who these people are?? YOU WERE THE GOVERNOR, OK?? You pick up a phone evenn as a FORMER governor and cops will do whatever you want. I lived with a lady who was the WIDOW of a famous Dallas mayor 40 years before and the police would do anything she wanted, certainly check an employee. I was pulled over speeding and had old tickets on my name and they drove me home, let me go get some money, drove me down in the middle of the night, paid the ticket and drove me home.,,, A FORMER MAYOR'S WIDOW... lil ole you was a governor. OK?

    October 19, 2011 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  8. maquignon

    Why do all of the moderators pit the candidates against each other? Why do the candidates swallow the bait? These "debates" have done SOME good, but they have all been pretty bad. I heard one moderator say that his job was to make them a little uncomfortable. That is assinine!!! Romney and Perry were both losers tonight. They were two petulant schoolboys. I think Perry's fiasco was enough to end his chances. He was even worse tonight than he has been in the others when he appeared to be asleep. He was awake tonight but he shot himself in the foot. Why do they try to tear each other down? How are they going to get behind the eventual winner after treating each other so horribly? The very worst part was Perry's trying to stick Romney with "hiring an illegal." That was unforgiveable. Cain and Gingrich are the only ones that acted with any dignity whatsoever. They are my two favorites.

    October 19, 2011 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  9. Some Dude

    Mitt held up well, though I didn't like the instance when he took a personal jab at Perry (though Perry had just taken a personal jab at him, so maybe it was a wash). I've never been a fan of the 9-9-9 plan, and it's starting to unravel. I like Mitt or Newt.

    October 19, 2011 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  10. Michael

    Most of us Independents like myself don't like Mitt Romney & Rick Perry which is another reason why Herman Cain has risen in the polls, we like & support Herman Cain. Herman Cain is different from the others, he's not a part of Washington corruption yet at the same time his ideas are wonderful. A Herman Cain victory would be a victory for America, he's also a breath of fresh air as he's not bought & paid for like Romney & Perry who are out of touch & a big turn off to us Independents. I have great respect for Herman Cain as he is living proof that you can be black in America, have your dreams & goals, put some effort into it & you can make those dreams come true to become successful. Under President Obama unemployment is still very high & the black community is being hurt by the highest unemployment numbers. Herman Cain understands this & knows how to create jobs. Herman Cain is real, he has deep convictions & would put the good of the country first & that's the true change America really needs. Mitt Romney has constantly changed his political positions over the years because he is phony with no real convictions, he only tells people what he thinks they want to hear at the time just to get votes & Rick Perry doesn't have a clue on how to solve the illegal immigration problem.
    Herman Cain is the canidate Independents like me trust the most, he's not bought & paid for & he is right about this economy being on life support. Mitt Romney also supports business as usual with the outsourcing of American jobs for the sole purpose of cheap overseas labor while President Obama broke his 2008 campaign promise about putting the breaks on outsourcing & stopping big corporations from keeping money overseas, getting out of paying their taxes.

    October 19, 2011 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  11. kat

    I think all this bickering by the GOP is misguided. We need to stay focused on the REAL problem... BHO. Any of the candidates, with the exception of Paul, who I think is a plant by the Dems, like Perot, would be a better choice than our current clown in chief.

    October 19, 2011 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  12. Rayfinn

    Perry imploded tonight. He got caught trying to talk on other candidates time and showed lack of class. I was going to say Romney put him in place, but Perry sadly did it on his own.
    Romney/Cain or Romney/Newt both are great tickets.

    October 19, 2011 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  13. Rob

    Im voting for Mitt Romney. He is the next Ronald Reagan, and i can see him truly fixing our country and getting back on the right track. The rest of the candidates are desperately grasping for straws.

    October 19, 2011 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  14. Robert

    I think Perry should take getting booed by some Right Wingers as a badge of honor! They booed the gay serviceman. Perry caught Romney in a lie, that has been documented. At least Perry is his own man and doesn't flip flop like Mitt and Cain (Twice this week). I am a modearte Democrat who will probably vote again for Obama, but Perry and Ron Paul are the only two GOP candidates that I respect. I would even consider donating money to their campaign during the primaries.

    October 19, 2011 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  15. Stone

    Mitt Romney was very condescending. Putting his hand on Rick was infuriating for me. How many times have we heard Romney tell other its his turn to speak? Google it. He loves the sound of his voice. So would he still have illegals working for him if he weren't running for President. I do not respect him. I do respect the ex C-130 pilot Texas Govenor.

    October 19, 2011 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  16. Anon.

    A lot of commentators will try to change the subject by saying tonight's debate was an example of how our political discourse is degenerating. But, from where I stand, that such a large number of Americans would consider electing any of these loons for president is merely a sad statement on America's education system.

    October 19, 2011 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  17. Brian Dodge

    Rick Perry's denialist political hacks at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality censored so much science – everything that had to do with global warming – from a report that they commissioned that every scientist that worked on the report demanded that their names be removed.
    Rick Perry hasn't figured out that the record Texas droughts and wildfires are God's way of telling him that global warming is real.

    October 19, 2011 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  18. java

    All in the effort to find someone to lose to Obama...and they will lose!

    October 19, 2011 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  19. Peace

    I think Perry gave Romney a big test. Romney failed totally. He did not act presidential. He was negative, he answered like a man on the street. From my point of view, Romney has lost what he acquired from the previous debates! A credible president always maintains his status even in difficult times of being attacked (by words)!

    October 19, 2011 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  20. Marie MD

    Does romneycare realize that the real fight right now is against the pizza man and not the rich hunting seccesionist?

    October 19, 2011 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  21. Mark

    I thought Gov. Perry came out looking petulant and annoying. If he is going to start a fuss in a debate, then he has to live by the rules and let his opponent.

    October 19, 2011 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  22. AlaskaPalin

    Romney=obama had issues with everyone. This heir apparent seems confused by the fact that there are those who will opposed his coronation. The final question took the cake, it had the appearance of legitimizing prince mitts inherent right to the throne. Way to go cnn.

    October 19, 2011 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I wonder why these two seem to hate each other so much. I guess they see each other as the main opponet and should be nailed at every oppertunity.

    October 19, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  24. Canadian Jim

    It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black. None of these candidates stands much of a chance. No one voting for any of them will be choosing them because of substance or style. THe GOP is merely selecting who from a bad crop of wannabes they can put forward to allow them not to vote for Obama. You could march a duck out on stage and it would fare just as well in the Republican eyes. SO it really doesn't matter. Whoever is the nominee will get all of the Republican votes, not because they merit them or the Presidency.

    October 19, 2011 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  25. JT

    A vote for Rick Perry in the primary is a vote for Obama in the general.

    October 19, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
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