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. a in austin

    For Perry to confront Willard on the illegal immigrant – I believe it was the state of Texas trying to pass a law stating it was ok to have an illegal for your yard man, nanny, or maid. Yep, that's right!

    October 19, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. rmiddle

    None of them did...Same old tune, different day! They belong in the past with the rest of the dinosaurs!

    October 19, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. Mickey

    I don't know who won the debate...but I'm sure the American people are going to lose if any of these boneheads get elected.

    October 19, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. Teabug

    Mittens, too robotic - caught in a lie. Willard who would let the auto industry go under, Willard the Bain Capitalist wanting to accelerate the foreclosures so "investors" can snap up homes and kick families to the curb, Willard the individual mandate man who said it was a model for the country....Willard a man of many principles even if they are self-conflicted. Flip flop.
    Perry brought some heat, it's only going to get hotter Mittens.

    October 19, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  5. Ray Dean

    GOP debate last night. Reminded me of Abbott and Costello. Only thing missing was the frying pan!

    October 19, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  6. Don

    The one that speaks the least does the best!!!!!!!!!

    October 19, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  7. DIANA

    The only winner I could see is the one who wasn't there – Obama. These clowns gave him so much to work with it's ridiculous. I thought it was a funny show.

    October 19, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    This was a debate with an unispiring field of "small" minded candidates squabbling like school yard bullies. There wasn't a single candidate with a bold and positive vision for America.

    October 19, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. nobody

    Unless a new and heavyweight candidate emerges that could seriously alter the race, the GOP should stop these debates. It is difficult to watch these events for any other purpose than pure entertainment. Even the introductions are becoming pro-wrestling like with all the glitter and fanfare of a big-top circus. The debate evolves instantly into mud slinging that out-of-hand and damaging each candidate to some degree.

    October 19, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. brendatexas

    I'm from Texas but have to say Perry is out of his league. Romney held his own. Bachman finally made some points. Paul has some good points but is way off on defense. This was Cain's worst debate but came out Ok. Newt is brilliant and makes the most sense but will people vote for him? Santorum makes great points but he's too young, it's not his time. Glad Huntsman bowed out, he's kind of creepy. Cain/Newt or Newt/Cain would make the best all around team. Whatever the outcome I will vote for anyone but Obama to save America.

    October 19, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. rc

    Romney was the clear winner. Every time Perry attacked him MItt looked bigger and Perry looked smaller. Perry can't put together a sentence without stumbling. HIs attacks are baseless. Who the heck knows if their landscaper, waiter,car washer etc. is legal or not? Is that now my responsibiity? Line of the night was when Romney reminded everyone that Perry in his last life worked for Gore's campaign. He had the right response for every attack.

    October 19, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. Hello

    you all need to calm down no one cares

    October 19, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. Clwyd

    From what I read, I refused to watch, there were only 8 losers debating in Vegas!

    October 19, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are not statesmen. In this debate they both appear as petulant children who are starved for attention. Is this the best crop in the GOTP? If so, then, YIKES!

    October 19, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. Sniffit

    My gawd Parry looks like a deer in the headlights at these things. I've skipped the last two and just read about them after...had no idea he looked as absolutely clueless as he does....eyes glazed over, stumbling over pre-programmed talking point responses, rambling incoherent jabber...the whole 9 yards. Epic cowboy fail.

    The rest of them? Similarly ridiculous, but Parry's mindlessness really shines brighter than the rest.

    October 19, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. BinFL

    @De – you're defense of Perry is so funny and hypocritical. Maybe you can see that Obama is treated the same way. When he tries to compromise with the NO party he gets chastised for not being strong, and when he finally stands firm and goes to the people for support of his policies, he's chastised and called a "Socialist", "Marxist", etc. and blamed for "campaigning". Obama will lambast Perry so we Independents/Dems would love for Perry to be the nominee.

    October 19, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. CharloEllis

    To sum it up the debate had one Yoda and the rest 2 year olds. Newt is only determined to file the world with Christian Republicans. Perry nothing but a Dracula who needs a transfusion, Bachmann and the other gay basher are clearly out to lunch. Mitt is completely indecisive about his indecisiveness. Flips and flops like Perry. Perry is dead meat and unworthy of any government job. Awful. Yoda without a strategic position that will work – Ron Paul. He has a brain on what not to do. He is light years beyond the other dogs running for the GOP nomination but he has to have a plan. Nine nine nine is a joke. Not usable and this makes the pizza dude irrelevant since he isn't about anything useful. So this lot is a sinking ship.

    October 19, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  18. JoeS

    Perry did a bad performance in that debate. He solely attack his opponent out of nowhere and not a very convincing subject. You could see in his eyes how angry He was on Romney. This is not the kind of Person that we want in the White House. His problem of giving education to illegal immigration was his choice and it was opened up by Bachman, not Romney in the first place. Perry should stop campaigning. He is desperate and nowhere to become our next President. I choose Romney as our next President.

    October 19, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. Geoz

    I wish the GOP could quit arguing for the right wing and instead argue for the center.

    October 19, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. SecedingfromTexas

    'I work for the defense industry and our company made a lot of money supporting Mr. Bush's wars".
    *********************
    So did Halliburton, Blackwater, Cheney, the Iraqi "leaders", etc etc etc, and that makes all the lives lost, the
    economy tanking, and the loss of respect of most of the world worth it????
    Not in my book.
    As for "your" Republican candidates, when they act respectfully they will be respected. We are tired of the
    name-calling, lies, and stupid comments regarding our President, so the shoe is on the other foot now, and
    you are whining? Wow, how shallow can you get?

    October 19, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. Ideas?

    @kat-Kat you are right in line with most of these republican candidates. All you can do is call the president names, yet you, like the most of the candidates don't present any solutions. At least Cain is presenting a plan, although it actually would hurt the lower and middle classes. Use your brain and make sure the person you vote for actually has a plan that is in your best interest. Please don't let the election be reduced to a high school popularity contest. Let's listen to what they all have to say and vote for the most intelligent candidate with actual ideas that may work. Name calling does nothing productive, just like in grade school.

    October 19, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. Tom from Texas

    I can't believe the Republican Candidates are stupid enough to inflict more harm on each other than the
    Democrats could ever do to them. They may as well drag McCain back for another beating at this rate!

    October 19, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. Tom in the Great NW

    It is not Mr. Perry's fault that he was born in Texas, the land of the wooden heads. He seemed to wobble and waver in his search for answers to Romney's attacks on Texas illegal immigrants. Newt was right, the American people are watching and will not allow another Dubya to steal his way into the White House. Sorry Mr. Perry, but you should be in Texas repairing that poor state's economy – the one that you DUBYA- IZED!!

    October 19, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Perry looked really frustrated. Romney was patronizing. Cain needed to say that running for president deals with federal rules and the states have their own. The whole apples and oranges thing didn't make things simpler; just made it look a a fruit salad.

    Anderson Cooper didn't do enough to get Paul, Santorum and Gingrich in there. It would have been nice to have a notation that Huntsman was invited and give the reason why.

    October 19, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. TrademarkCassi

    I think I'm beginning to like Rick Perry a little more everyday, against my better judgment. I think he's the most trustable in the entire group...but honesty doesn't make up for absolute tactlessness. I like Rick Perry, but I just can't see him being a viably tactful president. I'm a bit biased against conservatism in the first place. I don't like extreme liberalism either, because I've noticed a lot–not all, mind you, but I'm speaking merely through observation–of liberals lean toward socialism. I liked Newt's approach with blaming the national crises on both major political parties instead of just pointing fingers. They're all really angry, really "practiced," and just tactless amongst each other. I mean... Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan? Does he think every American is hopelessly unobservant and stupid or something?

    In any case, I'm pretty sure they're all just incompetent. I don't like Obama's plan for getting rid of a fraction of the national debt over the next decade, because taxng the rich more will only lead to cuts elsewhere, and by cuts elsewhere, I mean human capital, and by human capital, I mean jobs. It makes no sense for a man who whines about.unemployment to impose a tax that will increase unemployment rates even more.

    October 19, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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