Since my initial post about the contrast of Rick Perry and Mitt Romney was quite popular I thought I’d describe their differences during their first debate together.
First, as most outlets are reporting, this debate proved that Rick Perry was the one to watch as most of the questions and attacks were directed to him. You could chalk that up to being the newest entrant but I don’t think that would be the case if he were polling where other candidates stand.
Both Perry and Romney had good performances and their delivery was well received. Being the front-runner, Perry attempted to cut off attacks before they were launched. One example was his ideas for border security after some of his opponents had labeled him soft on illegal immigration. Before his opponents could mention his name he headed it off by supporting ‘boots on the ground’ along with Predator drones securing the border – definitely a step-up over the wall other candidates have proposed. And Perry should know; he’s been governor of a border state for 10 years.
But unlike his plans for border security, Mr. Perry still needs to flesh out his plan for the economy. If he sticks with his strategy of ‘less is more’ than he’ll need to connect the dots between less government action equaling a better economy. His experience and record has gotten him this far but he has to develop a tangible strategy for voters to support since all indications are it will be the main issue all the way up to election day.
This is in contrast to Mr. Romney who has unveiled a very detailed, 59-point plan to get the economy going. You can even get it in Kindle form. And while Politico reports that its standard Republican ideals, at least Romney can go into a debate with the knowledge that he has a plan in place from day one, something Perry can’t say just yet.
From watching previous Perry debates, you can bet he will make the necessary adjustments to his style for Round Two – more definitive answers to better visualize for viewers what a Perry Presidency would look like. If he can convert the hope (to borrow a word from a previous election) to solid support in the party, he’ll cruise. For Romney, his campaign will live and die by the strategy of promoting his electability versus Obama. If they can paint Perry as too far right than he’ll have the advantage.
With over four months until the first official test, both will have plenty of time to stake their claim.