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The Brief: Nov. 30, 2011

For Rick Perry, another attempt at a campaign reboot, this time in New Hampshire, may have already fallen flat.

Gov. Rick Perry answers media questions upon his arrival at the Electric Park Ballroom in Waterloo, Iowa, on Aug. 14, 2011.

The Big Conversation:

For Rick Perry, another attempt at a campaign reboot, this time in New Hampshire, may have already fallen flat.

Perry swung through the Granite State on Tuesday to tout the endorsement he received earlier in the day from controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known for his aggressive efforts to crack down on illegal immigration (like making inmates wear pink underwear). But as the Tribune's Jay Root reports, the nod didn't appear to have moved many voters in the early-primary state, where surveys have shown the governor polling in the low single digits.

Arpaio was greeted with boos at one town hall gathering. About a quarter of the seats went unfilled for Perry's last event of the day — "a fitting end," as National Journal put it, "to a long day of campaigning that failed to drum up much enthusiasm."

The Perry camp hoped the endorsement would beef up the governor's credibility on the issue, for which he has sustained intense attacks since calling opponents of a bill he signed extending in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants heartless. Instead, the governor drew laughs from audience members for a string of minor gaffes (misstating the voting age and date of the presidential election) and awkward silence when he declared his intention as president to detain and deport every individual who crosses into the U.S. illegally.

“It does seem like there’s a one-step-forward, two-steps-backward dynamic that seems to have taken hold,” Jim Henson, a government professor at the University of Texas, told the Tribune.

Perry's New Hampshire efforts alone have confounded some political observers. “No one, even in his camp, expects him to do well in New Hampshire,” University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato told the Tribune. “He should be spending every available moment in Iowa.”

Culled:

  • The Perry campaign on Tuesday denied a story claiming that the team has shuffled several top staff positions, including that of Joe Allbaugh, whom Politico reported has assumed the role of campaign manager. Politico also reported, according to unnamed sources, that Dave Carney, who has long served as Perry's top political strategist, has been moved to focus on campaign efforts in New Hampshire. “There have been no title changes, there have been no additions or subtractions or significant changes,” campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan told National Journal.
  • Amid accusations that he carried on a 13-year extramarital affair, Herman Cain said Tuesday that he has begun reassessing his presidential bid. Though Cain denied the affair, his advisers said he would soon decide whether his campaign can withstand the allegation, which has exposed doubt among some conservatives who have previously defended Cain over accusations of sexual harassment. “The public will have to decide whether they believe her or whether they believe me," Cain told supporters and staff members on a conference call, as The New York Times reports. "That’s why we’re going to give it some time, to see what type of response we get from our supporters." New polling released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling showed that Cain's exit would likely benefit Newt Gingrich, who has surged to the top of several polls in the past two weeks.
  • Use the Tribune's latest interactive feature to find out how the newly redrawn state House, Senate and congressional maps have changed which district you live in and who represents you.

"He did more than misspeak. He did more than recklessly attack his own base and generally act like the class bully assigned to spend study hall with the chess club. He did more than forget his talking points and display an uncomfortable lack of knowledge of important topics. He simply suffocated."Drew Cline, the New Hampshire Union Leader's editorial page editor, on why Rick Perry didn't receive the newspaper's endorsement

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