According to ABC analyst Matthew Dowd, the fact that Rick Perry's wife, Anita, has been publicly touting her husband means the candidate is floundering. Making a blanket statement on Thursday's Good Morning America, Dowd declared, "...Any time you have a wife go out on the trail, you know that you- basically, the campaign's in trouble."
He added, "If you start putting your wife out there in a front and center way, you got your campaign in trouble." GMA anchor George Stephanopoulos didn't jump in to contest this assertion. Yet, this same program didn't spin Michelle Obama campaigning for her husband as desperate.
On the May 22, 2007 edition of GMA, Robin Roberts teased, "Why does she say being married to a strong woman makes her husband the right man for the job?" Then co-anchor Diane Sawyer gushed, "I cannot wait to hear [Michelle Obama] speak out. We have waited too long, in my view."
During that segment, Roberts hyped, "She has been called his closest adviser and his daily reality check.
Roberts scored another exclusive interview on May 19, 2008.
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Instead of wondering whether Michelle campaigning for her husband was a sign of weakness, the ABC journalist empathetically speculated about the nasty GOP: "Should you get through this process and you have the general election ahead of you, that this is what you can expect more and more of. Are you prepared for that?"
A transcript of the September 29 segment, which aired at 7:18am EDT, follows:
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GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, to politics. Your voice, your vote. And today, Chris Christie is still teasing, Rick Perry is backtracking and the Obama White House is taking a big risk. Here for a quick take on all of the hot topics, our political contributor Matt Dowd, who has been a top pollster for Democrats and Republicans, including former President George W. Bush. And let's begin with Chris Christie. We hear that the older President Bush is trying to convince him to get into the race. But a lot of other Republicans are saying it's too late for him to get in.
MATT DOWD: Well, I don't- He has to obviously make this decision. But I don't think it's too late for him. I could make an argument that Rick Perry actually got in too early, after what happened to him and his stumbles and all that. I think- There's the legal issues. He has to get on the ballot. But, if he really wants to run, I think he can wait until the end of this month and still do well, because the rises and falls in this, is like internet stock. They go fast and they go down- up fast, down fast. I still think he could get in, if he wants.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And some indication we'll get that decision by next week. You talked about Rick Perry, slipping in national polls. Slipping in the Iowa polls. And he came out yesterday, talking to a conservative website, basically taking back that comment in last week's debate where he called opponents of his plan to give in-state tuition to illegal immigrants heartless. Take a look.
RICK PERRY I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word and it was inappropriate. But here's what I do believe: That it is a state's sovereign right to decide that issue for themselves.
STEPHANOPOULOS: No question that comment hurt him. One of another striking things, his wife, Anita Perry, out on the campaign trail, going to Iowa and saying, "Don't worry. He's going to be a lot better prepared for the debates next time."
DOWD: Yeah. First of all, I think Rick Perry is saying thank God for the Red Sox, because their collapse is bigger than his collapse, so far. Um, I think any time you have a wife go out on the trail, you know that you- basically, campaign's in trouble. If you start putting your wife out there in a front and center way, you got your campaign in trouble. I think he, still, obviously, can still fix the problem. He is going to have to fix it fairly quick, obviously taking back the comment on immigration and being heartless is a way of that. He has got to fix some problems. He was not ready for prime time when he got into this race. And he is going to have to that fairly soon.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, we see the Obama White House deciding to take the case on health care straight to the Supreme Court. No delay. They want a decision before the election. I've got to say, I was surprised by this. This is taking a risk.
DOWD: It's a huge risk, I think. This was the pillar of his presidency. The economy hasn't done well. He hasn't done well on a lot of other issues. This is, really, the signature issue of his presidency. If that falters going into election, it's very difficult for them to say- what are you going to run on? You can't run on the economy. You can't run on other issues. You're stuck with the health care issue which may or may not be declared unconstitutional. It's a big risk.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And then, even if he wins, it rallies the opposition as well.