Open Thread: Will Last Night's Attacks on Perry Hurt His Campaign?
Last night's debate brought a few blows to front runner Gov. Rick Perry, who kept his cool despite the attacks from every other candidate. While Perry's overall performance at last night's debate seemed to have improved over last week's debate, his stumbling on the issues of immigration and health care may have hurt him in the eyes of some Tea Party supporters. Do you think the attacks against Perry will hurt his campaign? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
The first attack came from former Gov. Mitt Romney, who questioned Perry on his views on the constitutionality of Social Security. Perry came out ahead from the attack, bringing up Romney's previous claims that Social Security's funding system was similar to a criminal enterprise, negating the criticism Romney had just made.
The beating came the hardest from Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Sen. Rick Santorum, who criticized Perry for his Gardasil mandate. Bachmann brought up Perry's ties to Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil, a criticism for which Perry did not seem prepared. Santorum echoed the criticism, noting the difference between requiring standard vaccinations for measles and mumps versus requiring vaccinations for an STD like HPV.
Another point on which Perry stumbled was immigration. Texas allows in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants, and Perry defended the law on the premise that it had almost no dissent in the Texas legislature and that it kept young adults in school. He neglected to successfully differentiate between Texas's law and the DREAM Act, and failed to refute the idea that the students were attending the universities at no cost.
With stumbles from every candidate, many critics noted there was no real winner in last night's debate, and agreed that Perry needs to step up his debating in order to maintain his heavy lead in the GOP field. Do you think last night's performance will affect Perry's poll numbers? Or did you watch the debate at all?