GOP Presidential Primary

Perry enters race to strong opposition over his Texas record

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“We see this as as our responsibility,” Gray said. “Rick Perry has not been accustomed to the level of vetting that a national candidate is going to need to be subject to. He’s very closed off to the press in Texas, doesn’t typically take a lot of questions, and he’s going to need to get used to it or fall apart.”

Chris Elam, spokesman for the Republican party of Texas, dismissed the TDP’s strategy as a “fundraising mechanism,” and said that the Texas party has been fundraising for the website for several months.

“They’re trying to get attention in any way possible because the media in Texas is not paying attention,” Elam said, noting a general lack of attention and energy behind Democratic candidates in traditionally Republican Texas. “I don’t think [the website] will get any traction.”

However, with the Democratic National Committee throwing its weight behind the Texas branch, it just might. The DNC distributed nationally a Texas Democratic Party press release titled “Perry needs a pink slip” on Thursday, setting the tone for the Democrats welcoming Perry to the race.

Perry, who is entering the race as a formidable competitor polling in second place behind Mitt Romney, relies heavily on the strength of the Texas economy and lower unemployment rate as proof that he can address the economic issues expected to loom over the 2012 elections.

Making the media rounds on Friday, Obama strategist David Axelrod furthered the theme of hitting Perry on his home-state record, calling Perry’s record in Texas “a record of decimation not of progress” to ABC News.

Axelrod downplayed Perry’s ability to take credit for the Texas economy, instead crediting mostly oil prices and military spending. “I don’t think many people would attribute it to the leadership of the governor down there,” he said on CBS’ “Early Show.”

The push-back from Obama’s campaign along with the DNC is not unprecedented for a primary candidate this early in the race, but likely another indication that Perry is a serious contender and someone to watch.

The concentrated push-back on Perry’s record over the past week is likely a good preview of what Perry can expect to face in the primary and potentially a general election.


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