We liveblogged the CNN/Western Republican Leadership Conference debate at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, where Gov. Rick Perry had one more shot to make a better impression before a several-week debate hiatus.
Perry’s first four debates were nothing to write home about, and contributed to falling poll numbers after a commanding out-the-gate lead. At his most recent debate at Dartmouth College last week, the Texas governor appeared to be an afterthought — he got less airtime, and seemed to give less vehement answers.
The goal tonight may simply have been to avoid missteps. After the event, Perry has weeks to release TV ads and emphasize in-person appearances until the next debate, slated for Nov. 9. He also has another policy speech on job creation scheduled for next week in South Carolina.
He recommends a "virtual defense zone" bolstered by strategic fencing. That includes putting boots on the ground and predator drones in the air.
Bachmann retorts she's going to build a double-walled fence.
Perry's unimpressed. "There's a lot better way than to stand here and say we're gonna build a fence somewhere and then wipe our hands of it," he says.
For someone to lecture him on how to deal with the border is "not right," he says.
To be fair, it's possible they disapprove of Romney's choice of employees. Though, really, it really seems like it's Perry's attack.
Santorum basically says there's no other possible meaning when you call for passing an economic plan on the same day as the TARP vote. Perry says he knows what his intent was, and it was not to support TARP.
Perry has publicly said he and Jeffress differ on this issue, and that he does not believe Mormonism, Mitt Romney’s faith, is a cult. But the fact that he introduced Perry may be a thorn in the side for the Texas governor; when Anderson Cooper brought it up, there were giant boos from the audience.
“I have said I didn’t agree with that individual’s statement,” Perry said. But he didn’t go so far as to repudiate Jeffress, saying people have the right to free speech.
Romney fires back that Perry's got his own track record: He worked for Al Gore's campaign. Romney said he got unemployment in Massachusetts down to 4.7 percent.
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