The Big Conversation:
Rick Perry may have just won one fundraising battle, but he's losing another.
The Perry campaign announced Wednesday that the governor raised an impressive $17 million in the latest fundraising quarter. That put Perry, in need of good news after a series of poor debate performances, ahead of every other Republican candidate, including his chief rival, Mitt Romney, who is said to have raised $11 million to $13 million.
But The New York Times reports that in recent days, Romney has scooped up major uncommitted Republican donors at a faster clip than Perry. Many such donors, like hedge fund founder Paul Singer and New York grocery magnate John Catsimatidis, had been holding out for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the race.
"This year Governor Romney has proven himself to be an excellent candidate," Singer wrote in a statement earlier this week. "His debate performances have been extremely impressive — fluid and at times commanding. He’s obviously very well prepared, both disciplined and confident. … In addition — and of supreme importance — Mitt Romney can defeat the incumbent president, a task that is a matter of urgency and of keen importance to the country."
Romney has also recently secured the support of several Bush administration officials, like Michael Chertoff, the former secretary of homeland security, and a number of former Tim Pawlenty backers.
Perry, too, has received several endorsements this week, the Times notes, including those of state lawmakers and members of Congress in key primary states like Florida and New Hampshire. And at least one major Christie supporter, Gary Kirke of Iowa, has moved to Team Perry.
But the quick movement of establishment-type Republicans predominantly toward Romney puts intense pressure on Perry, whose $17 million haul, if nothing else, proves that the race won't be over any time soon.
- A U.S. House resolution proposed Thursday by Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., kept the Rick Perry camp-name controversy alive for another day. Jackson introduced a measure demanding that Perry apologize for not immediately removing the rock that bore the racially insensitive name of the ranch once leased by Perry and his family. The House killed the resolution, voting largely along party lines, with Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo — whom Perry appointed secretary of state in 2001 — the only Democrat to break ranks.
- Just how formidable is Herman Cain? Though the Georgia businessman — whom a series of recent polls have shown surpassing a faltering Rick Perry — has been dismissed as the Republican flavor of the week, Nate Silver of The New York Times' FiveThirtyEight says Cain may have staying power if he can pick up some endorsements from party officials and start gaining traction in Iowa, where Perry's stumbles have left an opening. Until then, though, he'll likely remain a long shot.
- The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed rolling back some of the requirements of its cross-state rule for reducing air pollution, which several states and businesses have claimed would cost jobs and threaten states' electric reliability. But the changes aren't likely to appease the rule's critics. "By making the minor changes announced today, the Obama Administration effectively concedes that its rules were flawed — but inexplicably refuses to resolve the real defects," Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a statement.
- The New York-born Occupy Wall Street movement reached Texas on Thursday, with protesters peacefully staging anti-corporation, anti-war — though still thematically amorphous — demonstrations in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
"Mr. Speaker, 'nigger' is offensive. It’s offensive. And I think that I’m expressing the moral outrage of all Americans." — U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., on the floor of the U.S. House on Thursday
- It's Romney’s Race to Win, Whatever he Believes, Bloomberg
- Rick Perry's Texas Media Strategy Falls Flat On National Stage, The Huffington Post
- For Rick Perry, A Restless Life On The Farm, NPR
- As Costs Rise, Texas Doctors Experiment With Care, Payment Models, The Texas Tribune