Tags: Donald Trump | GOP2016 | Rick Perry | rick perry | donald trump | gop | debate

Quest for Debate Spot Likely Reason for Perry's Trump Tirade

Quest for Debate Spot Likely Reason for Perry's Trump Tirade
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By Thursday, 23 July 2015 10:35 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Following Rick Perry's strong denunciation of Donald Trump, Republican political pros have been speculating on whether his anti-Trump declarations will boost his poll numbers enough to put him in the first Republican presidential debate on Aug. 6.

More than a few GOP political consultants believe that getting the 10 percent support in the polls that debate host Fox News requires for participation in its televised forum is a major reason behind Perry’s attacks on fellow presidential hopeful Trump.

Speaking in Washington on Tuesday, former Texas Gov. Perry charged that Trump’s strong words about Mexican immigrants mean the billionaire’s candidacy "is a cancer that must be diagnosed, excised, and discarded," and he likened what he called "Trumpism" to the anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic "Know-Nothing" movement of the mid-1800s.

Of Trump’s disparaging remarks about John McCain’s record as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Perry said that Trump "could not endure for 5½ minutes what John McCain endured for 5½ years."

"Have you no sense of decency, sir?" Perry felt compelled to say to Trump, invoking Joseph Welch’s celebrated reply to Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings — although Perry incorrectly referred to "Sen. Welch" when Welch was actually a trial lawyer who never held any office.

So is Perry taking the right path in attacking Trump?

"Absolutely," Republican consultant and commentator Ford O’Connell told Newsmax. "What better way to secure a place on the debate stage than to get on Trump’s rocket ship?"

Dan Schnur, formerly a top GOP consultant in California and now director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of South California, agreed.

"Perry needs to break out of the pack and taking on Trump is a smart way to get attention," Schnur told us.

As for analogies being made to Democratic hopeful Bill Clinton getting attention in 1992 by taking on controversial statements about race made by singer Sister Souljah, Schnur said: "It’s important to remember that Sister Souljah was not a billionaire running for president herself. So Perry’s challenge is much greater than Clinton’s."

Other alumni of Republican campaigns saw the attacks on Trump as potentially counterproductive.

Ed Rollins, who managed President Ronald Reagan’s re-election in 1984 and is a past head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told Newsmax that "it is important to have a discussion on the issue of immigration. Trump is touching all the hate buttons and his simple approach, such as saying 'build this wall along the border,' makes people rise up. But it also eliminates discussion of a serious Republican plan on the immigration issue."

While wishing "Trump would go away" and praising Perry for "having a great story to tell about his governorship," Rollins — who is neutral in the 2016 race — did say that "when we get at Trump’s level, we really lower ourselves. The Republican candidates should not be spending the next three or four months knocking the crap out of each other."

Veteran North Carolina GOP consultant Marc Rotterman agreed, although he also said, "I think Mr. Trump has brought up several legitimate issues including border security and sanctuary cities.

"But I also think it’s non-productive to continue this Republican fratricide. The back and forth only plays into the hands of the left-wing media and their allies," said Rotterman.
"I would urge all Republican contenders to invoke Reagan's 11th commandment not to speak ill of other Republicans. Otherwise we are off topic and we are letting [Barack] Obama and Hillary Clinton off the hook.

"My view would be to focus on both of them and the messes they have created."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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Following Rick Perry's strong denunciation of Donald Trump, Republican political pros have been speculating on whether his anti-Trump declarations will boost his poll numbers enough to put him in the first Republican presidential debate on Aug. 6, writes John Gizzi.
rick perry, donald trump, gop, debate, aug 6
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2015-35-23
Thursday, 23 July 2015 10:35 AM
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