The spin on the Perry-Romney crossfire
October 18th, 2011
10:49 PM ET
7 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. Jaywing

    The Republican clown car that is the GOP debate cycle drove on stage in Las Vegas last night and ** gasp! ** clowns got out and did what clowns do - only better, with more laughs per minute than you can catch with a fishing pole and a net!

    October 19, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. Tim Hurst

    rick, the rat, perry is dangerous. Skitzo in real life, he would be the worst in public office. Under perry, Texas is at the bottom in teen pregnancy, high school dropouts, clean air, water and dirt, insurance for children and the elderly, education, the list goes on and on. The "jobs" he claims to have created in Texas are basically minimum wage (think McDonalds and AutoZone). The Texas budget is out of money, he took Fed Aid and moved it to his pet projects, cuts in education are bleeding the state.

    He has millions in his war chest because of a nutty religious nut in San Antonio and Big Big Oil. He is totally controled by these Taliban-like wingnuts. Be afraid America. Be very afraid of perry and his good ole boys.

    October 19, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  3. Charlie from the North

    Who won? ...President Barak Obama. If any of these bozos win the country will certainly lose.

    October 19, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. rrinbr

    Obama won.

    October 19, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. Ken

    If you don't like these clowns, then you surely don't like the current Bozo in office today. Why doesn't every one just step back for a second (forget your political or religious dogma) and consider someone who actually has led something to a successful conclusion and who is not a career politician. That leaves Cain and Romney. Unfortunately Cain is not very credible and made some major mistakes last night include his many admitted "misspoke" retractions. Those of German descent are saying nein, nein, nein about his political platform. That leaves Mitt who talks like a President, acts like a President and will be able to turn things around like he has done many times already – he is our best chance. Bozo needs a new act!

    October 19, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Cain wants to be the Chairman in Chief, because he says he's not a politician.
    Perry wants to be the Chaplain in Chief, but now he doesn't have a prayer.
    Paul wants to be the Chooser in Chief, and let us make choices.
    Gingrich wants to be the Chief of Chiefs, because he's the Newt.
    Bachmann wants to be the Caregiver in Chief, and mother to us all.
    Huntsman wants to be the Comedian in Chief, with his flat jokes.
    Santorum wants to be the Conservative in Chief, and a little respect
    Romney wants to be all of the above.

    Now, pick one.

    October 19, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. idknothing

    I wish the moderators would cut off any candidate that did not answer the question put before them. Perry said he would answer they way he wanted... in that case they should shut off his microphone, and not allow him to answer questions for 10 minutes. People submitted questions only to be ignored..

    October 19, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  8. Tom

    Romney has a chance against Obama, though the odds still favor Obama. Huntsman is the Republican who has a better chance to beat Obama. The idea of Perry as president is terrifying. But I soothe my terror with the realization that he has disqualified himself, simply by being the dunce he is.

    October 19, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Bill

    Romney and Perry are typical for D.C., neither can agree, neither can abide by rules – they just want to pound their chests and proclaim themselves the winner. If they cannot get along in a debate, how well will they do in a leadership role as important as President? Very sad indeed.

    October 19, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. OldGuy1

    Time to get out the big fork for Perry, he tender enough.

    October 19, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Jbuss

    Rick Perry looks tired, frustrated and at times angry. When a person is tired they take shortcuts to get what they want and rely on less than desirable methods all in an effort to avoid doing the "hard and right" thing. Romney appeared energetic and happy to be there. Nod goes to Romney on this one.

    October 19, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. Rev Emmanuel Dumay

    It was a brutal debate. Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum could not control theirs emotions. So they lash out at each other. Perry again was miserable. He should distance himself from personal attacks against Romney. It was a moment for him to convince the American public. But he missed it. In the meanwhile, Romney defended himself in an excellent way. Cain did very well, though there had not been a clear winner. Too much intellectual mediocrity. But Gingrich appeared to be in the right track. In the end, to impede a second term of President Obama, the GOP badly need an adversary that has a non ambiguous economic plan to rescue the country and that is charismatic enough to beat him.

    October 19, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Lena

    I don't have cable so I did not watch the debate. I watched a great documentary on the evolution of the dog on PBS, and from what I've read here, my dogs looked and sounded a lot better than any of CNN's Rebublican candidates!

    October 19, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Who won? Easy. OBAMA.

    October 19, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. MW

    I love how CNN ask's the campaign's who won the debate. What do they think they'd say? What would have been news worthily is a flash poll after the campaign or even a poll of people in the audience.

    I personally think Romney solidified his position. To me, Perry came across as a hot head who was digging for an opening. Seriously, if we really want to create a litmus test that anyone who has ever hired a service company who ever employed illegal labor, no one could run. Does Perry really think a SINGLE house built in his state of Texas in the past ten years wasn't accomplished with illegal labor? Seriously? And even if Romney's lawn crew had an illegal worker, does that make him worse than Perry giving away $100,000 college educations to illegal immigrants? Regardless of where you are on this issue, a hypocrite is a hypocrite.

    October 19, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Tracy

    Who won? Easy, the Democrats. Instead of debating the issues, these Teapublicans cage fought each other. Plus several of them were/are just plain rude and don't even follow debate guidelines. If this is the best the Teapublicans have to offer, then independent voters will stampede to the Democrats and it'll be a landslide.

    October 19, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. Jake

    After watching last night's debate, I fully understand why the GOP was desperately seeking another candidate to get into the race!

    October 19, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. T Smith

    Compared to the non-presidential way these guys act, President Obama won this debate.

    October 19, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Morris The Cart

    Some of my best friends come from Texas. I felt ashamed for them after watching Perry's junior-high school attempt to not allow Romney to answer his questions. I called my friends after the debate, to ask if they actually voted for Perry for Governor, and they sheepishly said, Yeah, but down here he was the best we got." Not much of a recommendation.

    October 19, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Lolo

    I have known this all along that the republican/tea partiers have nothing to offer but, violence and hate, thanks to S. Palin. They are really showing their true colors.This party has exploded, but their backers and followers who will do anything to make President Obama a one termer are not going to vote smart at all for the good old US Of A. They only care about themselves. I do not watch their debates at all. They are nothing but pure entertainment and I want someone who is serious about their jobs as a politician, not just about agreeing with anything just to get elected. This party today is nothing but a do nothing party. They only sweat the little stuff, can't handle the real problems that are affecting America.

    October 19, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. simp

    Did anyone notice how perry totally ignored the questiion asked of him about the number of children that don't have health insurance in his state? He totally ignored it and started blasting rommney about his health care plan in Mass. What a crook perry his, he is a snake and liar and I hope his poll number continue to drop so this loser can fade away

    October 19, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. Giorgio

    What a mess of a debate, poor Anderson Cooper. Bachmann-this isn't the 1950s anymore, wives are not at home anymore watching as their husbands lose their jobs. they are working and losing their jobs and income too. stop trying to play the woman card and wake up! Cain-999 is not going to work Perry-stop being a bully and please try to conduct yourself like you are educated. very desperate move from a very deperate candidate. Romney-is an intelligent debater however i haven't heard anything come out of your mouth that details a plan or any ideas that would help the u.s. Paul-super intelligent candidate. people need to listen to him. he won't go far b/c most americans want their leader to be young and attractive, we're such a superficial country, we need to wake up. Santorium-what distinguishes you from the rest???

    October 19, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. Satan

    You know this country is full of neanderthals when not one person here realizes Ron Paul is far beyond all of these candidates.

    October 19, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. thomas


    Perry will never answer that question !

    He's used to being Emperor of Texas !

    Perry / Enron ?

    October 19, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. Jimbo

    Mr. Newt Gingrich was the best in this debate. He calmly answers the questions. He is given less time than the front runners, but civility and focus make his responses so much stronger than those of the other top tier contenders.

    October 19, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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