For our latest weekend round-up, we've compiled clips from the Sunday news shows, whose commentators think Gov. Rick Perry's presidential prospects are gaining momentum nationwide. They took note of Perry's rock star performance on Saturday at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.
On Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory dedicated several minutes to the topic of the 2012 presidential election and said Perry is at the top of the political "trends" list. NBC Political Director Chuck Todd reported that Mitt Romney is the clear front-runner in the GOP presidential primary, but the key words are "later" and "Perry." He says sources have told him Perry won't make an announcement until after his National Day of Prayer event in Houston on Aug. 6. Another important date is July 15, when campaign finance reports are due. If Romney's fundraising lead is "insurmountable," Todd said Perry could decide not to get in. Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot said Perry's trump card is Texas' promising jobs statistics, but he also questions whether Americans are ready to put another Texan in the White House so soon after George W. Bush.
Like MTP, This Week also featured sound from Perry's speech in Louisiana. Political analyst George Will said, "I think he will come in. He'll fill the niche of those who think there's something deeply flawed about this round of candidates. ... He's friendly both to the Tea Party and to the social conservatives ... and he bridges that gap well." Texan Matthew Dowd, Bush's former chief strategist, said Perry has the "best anti-Washington rhetoric" of any candidate on the circuit, and it's the reason he handily beat popular U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison last year. "He was Tea Party before Tea Party was cool," Dowd said.
Over on Washington Week, Dan Balz of The Washington Post said Perry has "clearly shifted from where he had been, which was "adamantly against running." The change factor? According to Balz, Perry's wife, Anita, is encouraging him to "think about it." If he gets in, Balz said, Perry would likely campaign on "pushing everything back to the states" and "diminish" the federal government. "He could be a force," Balz predicted.
Fox News Sunday briefly mentioned Perry toward the end of the panel discussion. Former Bush press secretary Dana Perino remarked that Perry would "bring passion" to the race. Former Obama deputy press secretary Bill Burton described Perry as a "more extreme version of George W. Bush." (Sorry, no video; as of Sunday evening, it wasn't available on the program's web site.)