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No Republican candidate should do this ever again

No Republican candidate should do this ever again

Rick Perry has been right to do the talk show circuit in the wake of Wednesday’s brain freeze, and he has been more impressive in the interviews I have seen in the last 24 hours than in any appearance since he announced in August.  Perhaps if Perry did the circuit two months ago his debates would have gone better.

I blame Perry’s campaign team as much as Perry.  They have done to him what the McCain team did to Sarah Palin, cloister him so tightly that any slip up in a public appearance gets magnified.

A lot of politicians go on Letterman.  But Letterman never does anything that makes a Republican look good.  He hates Republicans, and loathes conservatives.  He was one of the highest-profile Palin bashers who chose to single out her daughters.

I’m sure Letterman was giddy to see Perry make himself look weak on Letterman’s own show.  I agree with commenter J.E. Burke, this was humiliating for Perry.

Allowing yourself to be used as a prop by David Letterman never is the way to go.


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The time to use humor was when it happened. His timing is off.

    VetHusbandFather in reply to LukeHandCool. | November 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    He did use humor when it happened. The debate moderator, John Harwood, stuck to it and continued to press. The fact that Harwood pressed Perry doesn’t bother me too much, but the fact that Harwood all but bragged about making a fool of Perry the next day on Lawrence O’Donnell does. So much for any semblance of being an unbiased moderator.

    VetHusbandFather in reply to LukeHandCool. | November 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Also, Perry’s humor feels so contrived it’s painful sometime. He used the same Geithner taxes joke twice during the same interview with Greta last night. I literally groaned the second time I heard it.

This provides a useful example of the role played by leaders in a free country.

Imagine if Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi were to let Dave Letterman use him as a prop for mockery of him and Islam.

Maybe Rick Perry could dare any Islamist to invite themselves to be similarly mocked? (Top ten list of ways they have misunderstood Islam, or democracy, or freedom.)

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | November 11, 2011 at 10:13 am

I said when he floated the trial balloon of possibly skipping some of the debates that it might not be a bad strategy. He knows he’s a horrible debater. He also knows he’s a great retail politician. If he had gone with his gut instinct and skipped the Michigan debate, and spent his time in town halls and coffee shops in Iowa, he would have avoided all this embarrassment and possibly improved his chances in Iowa.

It’s probably moot now. Nobody in Iowa two months from now will vote for him based on his performance in a comedy skit on Letterman. They may, however, NOT vote for him based on his debate performance in Michigan. Cutting government down to size is the core of Republican ideology. If he can’t recite which three agencies he wants to eliminate as easily as he takes a breath of air, it sends a signal that he hasn’t thought long and hard enough about what his plans really are.

Hold on! We have to allow the resident Perry “experts” to tell us what we are allowed to think on this topic.

The one thing we know they will tell us is that the good professor is just a “shill” for some other campaign and has it in for Perry.

All other opinions must be placed on hold until we have been “properly enlightened”…

1. That could have been worse although Perry doesn’t have Reagan’s touch for self-deprecating humor.

2. I think he’s doing the right thing by confronting the gaffe head-on–doing penance with a good attitude, as it were–instead of pretending it never happened.

3. He made a last-minute decision to run and is not accustomed to the national stage. He may be learning the ropes and paying his dues. In the long run, willingness to take his lumps will play well with the public, especially if his performance improves.

4. He might be positioning himself for 2016 in case Obama is reelected.

I get what you have said, but sometimes we just simply over think these things…..I dislike Letterman immensely, but I did laugh at the video of this!

workingclass artist | November 11, 2011 at 11:42 am

I think that his choice of tie should totally disqualify him for president. (kidding here, I vote for a record)

Anyone concerned with substance…Human Events has posted these clips from an interesting interview with Gov. Perry and Erickson covering a wide range of topics. This is a link to foreign policy. All of them are interesting.

workingclass artist | November 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm

“He made a last-minute decision to run and is not accustomed to the national stage.”

Native Texan here and this is my opinion based on following Gov. Perry’s career over the years.

Perry’s strength has always been direct interaction with voters or media. In Texas conversation & response means more to voters then more formal debates. So it’s a Texas thingy. W.was the same way in that he related more comfortably in a direct fashion as opposed to a more formal setting with this many candidates on the stage.

Gov. Perry is very good in Townhalls responding to voter questions. He’s better in roundtable discussions and interviews like he did with Erickson.

In a townhall style debate with Obama or Romney Perry would beat them on substance and persona.

If he had a debate with Gingrich like Cain did he could hold his own matching his experience,record and ideas with Newt’s stats or data recollection.

Perry’s strength has always been taking complex creative ideas and making these accessible to voters in a decidely un-wonky plainspoken fashion. It shows in how he laid out his plans on his website which is pure team perry. It shows on his governor site.

I see a lot of provincialism in the criticism of Gov. Perry from his west texas accent/annunciation to questions of his intelligence because of his plain spoken manner and his slower speech pattern which is typical of the region. W. sounded more like a Houstonite.

I’m a native Texan and went to graduate school on the East Coast and experienced the same provincialism as a student. My daughter is experiencing it now going to college on the east coast 20 years later.

The point I’m making is this, If Texans are so backward why is our economy doing so much better. If Gov. Perry is so incapable to hold executive office why has he been elected to a historic third term in the second largest state of the union with the strongest economy and the leader in exports for 9 years.

It’s because of his leadership record and his ideas…his substance. It’s up to America if they want to join Texas in the rebound or if they want more of the same.

workingclass artist | November 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm


I think Townhalls are much better indicators.

The willingness of a politician like Perry to poke fun at himself can be a very powerful “perspective” tool, especially in the midst of a campaign threat like his 59 second brain freeze. But this was a fail, largely because of the rather obvious hostility of Letterman to Perry.

Many observers in New Jersey believe that Chris Christie sewed up the gubernatorial race in 2009 in part by going on the Don Imus radio show and making fat jokes about himself.

Surrogates from the Corzine campaign had been openly and quite derisively making fun of Christie’s weight, and even Corzine’s ads attacked Christie for “throwing his weight around.”

So Christie went live on Imus and turned it around. He won the election going away.

My good friend Vince Zarate, a retired long-time state house reporter for the Star-Ledger, wrote the best column about it in the Trentonian, right after that 2009 election.

Vince summed it up perfectly . . . “A laugh and a gaffe decided guv race.”

. . .
Christie in an interview on the Don Imus radio show out of New York six days before the election predicted he would be a “big fat winner.”

Christie himself for the first time in the campaign poked fun at his own heftiness, after nasty jibes on the topic in Corzine ads.

Christie himself used the “F” word — as in fat.

Imus, not missing a beat, asked: “How fat are you?”

“I’m pretty fat, Don,” His Hugeness answered.

“You weigh…?” Imus prodded.

“Five hundred fifty pounds,” Christie joked.

Christie had broached the subject of his weight by saying that Corzine should quit hinting at the topic and “man up and say I’m fat.”
. . . .

That was it. Corzine looked like a smacked ass. Blue state aside, he was toast.

In this case, however, while Rick Perry did play out the role gamely, Letterman looked like he could barely tolerate standing close to the guy at the end. Watch the handshake. He almost appears to push, or at least shoo Perry off the stage — twice — right as they were shaking hands. It looks like Letterman couldn’t wait to get rid of him.

Cassandra Lite | November 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm

My guess is that what happened to Perry was that he all of a sudden was the presumptive nominee…without having made the prerequisite media appearances. So that national spotlight, having just just opened his eyes, was way too bright. Bad strategy.

There is a clear line here. After looking like a dope in a serious setting at the debate, and already being in the single digits, it was not only the “right thing” for Perry to take the offensive and appear everywhere he could starting with the AM shows to embrace his error, kid himself about it, and put the best possible face on it. It was the ONLY thing to do. His cringe-inducing mistake was bound to be the leading political story for a day, at least, and by making the interview rounds, he could put himself directly into the news reports in as positive a way as possible. Millions of people would thus see and hear Perry’s “spin” at the same time as they heard about the flub.

It is a big jump from that to appearing with a hostile comedian not just to poke some good-natured self-effacing fun at yourself, but to read jokes that highlight the goofiness that got you into the mess in the first place.

There is a simple test about this: will viewers come away thinking that you seem to be a decent smart guy who made a mistake or that you seem to be a goofball.

Even if Letterman was a good venue for Perry, he should have declined the Top Ten unless he could also sit for an interview. All in all, though, Letterman is not a good venue. Jay Leno would have been better, though still not productive in this context. The time to appear on entertainment shows is when you are up, not down.

It may be that in show business “there is no such thing as bad publicity” but in politics, there certainly are good and bad opportunities for exposure.

By the way, I have started to see Perry ads on Fox News via Cablevision in my deep blue New York suburb. No one pays to do that in Nkvember 2011 except to try to boost his national poll numbers.

workingclass artist | November 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm

@Cassandra Lite

Perry shot up in the polls based on his record in Texas. It is certainly why Romney swings down and attacks him.

When Perry entered the race he started to do what traditional campaigns do in terms of introducing himself to voters in other states.
He didn’t do much national media until his plans were ready to publish & spent most of his time on the stump raising funds,meeting voters and engaging local media. He raised a whopping amount of money in 1/2 the time and began organizing in the early states which the rest of the field has done for months. This is typical of a late entry. There was a cluster of early debates on top of that. At some of these debates he just looked and sounded dog tired.

His wife being on the trail with him has helped as has the addition of more seasoned national strategists. I think he will recover but like everyone else I guess time will tell.

Voters in Texas connect to Perry as being one of us. A good example of that is the moment when on Greta when she asked him what his wife said to him after the debate…His face lit up when he said “She said I love you” It was so natural & spontaneous that it jumped out of the screen. Those kind of moments are golden.

workingclass artist | November 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm


Here’s what a liberal site wrote.
“After flubbing Wednesday night’s debate with an instantly viral brain freeze, Rick Perry is winning plaudits from the political chattering class for his winking damage control. “The only thing to do in a situation like that is to stop making excuses and start laughing along,” writes Salon’s Steve Kornacki. He compares Perry’s appearance on The Late Show to BIll Clinton’s similarly self-deprecating interview with Johnny Carson after delivering a widely ridiculed speech at the DNC. After weeks of brutal media scrutiny, Perry is finally getting some positive coverage: “Honestly, this [Late Show segment] may have been the single smartest strategic move Perry has made since entering the race.”

The comments said the same thing.

Perry has also said the media has been fair to him…which will settle better with voters as an adult response to politics then the “Lamestream Media” rhetoric. It doesn’t matter if what Perry said about the media is true or not it matters how he handles it and he is handling it well. He’s taking his lumps and not whining about it.

    I’m not sure why what a Salon pundit writes tells us much. Liberal Democrats can afford to say some nice or sympathetic things about Perry when he’s down in single digits and looks like a fool. It gives them something on the record to point to by way of being fair.

    Anyway, the Clinton-Carson example actually underscores my point because of the ways it was different:

    — Clinton was not (yet) running for President in 1988, so his problem was hardly the same.

    — Johnny Carson was in no way hostile to Democrats generally or Clinton in particular.

    — Clinton did not read copy written by someone else designed to humiliatd him. He made his own self-effacing jokes.

    — Clinton sat on The Couch for an interview with Johnny, allowing him to show off other facets of his persona while engaging in what used to be called witty repartee. This was a kind of blessing from the Late Night King. Perry got to read his goofball copy and got a cold shoulder of a kind Letterman would not give a minor actor doing a Top 10 bit.

    I remember the Clinton speech and Carson appearance vividly. The speech was a setback for an ambitious guy but only that. You could say that Clinton cleverly leveraged his speech bomb into positive national exposure that an Arkansas governor could only dream about. It was not as if he needed to climb back from a disaster.

    No question that Perry needed not to make excuses but to laugh at himself and go in offense. But as I said, every venue for exposure is not equal.

    @workingclass artist

    Good posts and observations. I think you are wasting your time with the Jebster and some the other political nomads that populate this board. When Cain implodes they will take their roadshow to Newt or someone else as they search for political salvation.
    At this time, I am leaning towards Perry. It isn’t because of one thing or one issue but something retire05 posted on this board a while back that has me thinking; why is the media and the GOP establishment fixated on the guy in 4th or 5th place?.
    What do they know and what do they fear. I was a Pawlenty supporter (one of the few) and was very suspect of a Perry run. I am warming up to the Governor. Of course, the Emotional Right and their Ellsworth Toohey imitations create such a warm environment for discussion. They can back Cain but I like Able.

The lamestream media is controlled by Soros and his evil cohorts who plan another 4 years of the Mulatto in mom jeans to finish off this democracy and they will stoop at nothing to fulfill their evil goal. Why is the 4th candidate in the polls on their hit list? Because he has a stellar record of job creation, wise economic management, and limited government philosophy and would make an exceptional restoration of the America the founding father envisioned.

I enjoyed Perry’s “Top 10” moment, and laughed. Didn’t pay much attention to Letterman’s body language or other such trivia, since he’s irrelevant. Feel free to obsess over has-been talk show hosts, if that makes some of y’all feel better.

Honestly I also laugh at people who claim that X or Y has the nomination sewed up, or that Z is history.

Doesn’t anyone else remember the 2008 rollercoaster before the GOP convention? Up & down, in & out: Giuliani; no, it’s Thompson; no, it’s Huckabee. And McCain was TOAST. He’d never get the nomination.

It’s still a couple months before 2012, three months before the primaries start, about 8 months before the convention, and so many people are so sure who is going to win – and who is going to lose.

P.S. beloved2? You might want to try decaf. Or something. Soros is no more controlling the progressive media than the Koch brothers are controlling their favorite voices.

TeaPartyPatriot4ever | November 12, 2011 at 3:43 am

Well, unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time it happened to a politician, and it won’t be the last.. Remember Az. Gov. Jan Brewer’s freeze moment..