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The Brief: Sept. 28, 2011

The Perry campaign, still looking to regroup, appears to have settled on a new strategy: Don't panic.

Gov. Rick Perry lunches with business leaders at the Star Restaurant in Dubuque, Iowa, on Aug. 16, 2011.

The Big Conversation:

The Perry campaign, still looking to regroup, appears to have settled on a new strategy: Don't panic.

Though Perry's poor showing at Thursday's Republican debate and loss at Saturday's Florida Straw Poll have some of his supporters openly fretting (and the GOP political class looking for another savior, namely in the form of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie), aides to the governor tell Politico that the campaign has no major changes in store.

“We’re not going to change what we’re doing,” said Perry spokesman Mark Miner. “It’s a long race.”

Instead, the campaign only plans to intensify its attacks on Perry's chief rival, Mitt Romney. On Monday, the campaign went on the offensive, releasing a web video accusing Romney of altering the paperback version of his book No Apology.

But a slow-and-steady approach may do little to quell the concerns of the Perry supporters rattled by the governor's unsteady debate performance and views on issues like illegal immigration, which has put him at odds with conservative Republicans. CNN reports that Perry on Tuesday called grassroots supporters in South Carolina and Iowa to reassure them of his conservative record, though aides to the governor tell Politico the calls had long been planned.

As one Perry supporter in South Carolina put it: “The extent has not been expected. This honeymoon thing isn’t lasting.”

Culled:

  • In another sign of growing doubt about Rick Perry's candidacy, NBC News reported Tuesday that organizers for two Perry fundraisers in D.C. had trouble securing commitments from lobbyists who'd been expected to attend the events. One lobbyist said Perry's recent debate performance and questions about his viability had given them pause.
  • The New York Times has a look at the role first lady Anita Perry may have played in her husband's 2007 decision to mandate vaccination against the human papillomavirus, which has dogged the governor since he entered the presidential race. The Perry campaign wouldn't comment on the matter, but records show that Anita Perry spoke of HPV and cervical cancer at a women's health meeting in 2005, and her name appears in a series of supportive emails sent shortly after Perry issued the mandate.
  • With Rick Perry still defending his support for a 2001 Texas law that allows the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, running for U.S. Senate, recently said he wouldn't have signed the law. But as the Austin American-Statesman reports, Dewhurst and state legislators in recent years have done little to roll back or repeal the measure.

"We have a debater-in-chief right now."Anita Perry to a group of Iowa Republicans on Tuesday. The first lady admitted that her husband's performance wasn't "polished" but said that's not what voters are looking for.

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