The Big Conversation:
With Rick Perry out, the details behind his undoing are beginning to emerge.
And as the Tribune's Jay Root reports, fingers are pointing directly at Joe Allbaugh, the manager for George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, who was hired in October to help resuscitate Perry's struggling candidacy.
Though it remains unclear whether any professionals could have saved Perry from his gaffe-induced free fall, tension between two warring camps — Allbaugh and a group of D.C. consultants, and Perry's veteran Austin-based staffers — strained an already weary campaign.
"I’d rather take a shower with Jerry Sandusky than go through another month of this," one longtime Perry adviser said in late December. "This campaign isn’t capable of winning."
Campaign advisers said Allbaugh waged several battles with Dave Carney, Perry's longtime political adviser. Among other disagreements, officials say, Allbaugh wanted to focus on Iowa, but Carney remained committed to competing in New Hampshire, his home state.
Carney was later told to stay in New Hampshire.
“Both of them are larger-than-life personalities with different styles,” said Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan. “I think I would just leave it at that.”
Some said Allbaugh seemed stuck in the past, pushing an online media strategy that the team considered outdated. Allbaugh, one adviser said, also ruled by intimidation, at times demanding oaths of loyalty from staffers.
“It was just a constant inserting himself," the adviser said. "I couldn’t even get through a conversation without him asking a question or wanting to know what’s going on."
Tensions surfaced publicy in December, when Politico ran a story quoting officials critical of Perry's Texas team.
“The Politico story, three days before the Iowa caucuses, had a corrosive effect on the campaign and on the morale in the campaign,” Sullivan said. “It was clear to many of us, myself included, that those attacking the campaign ... were our own Washington-based consultants, and it was a sad and destructive act of disloyalty and in some cases dishonesty.”
- With Rick Perry back in Texas, now what? As the Tribune's Emily Ramshaw reports, Perry supporters say publicly that he hasn't burned any bridges, but privately, some allies say damage has been done — and that it may take time to fix. “There have been a lot of hard feelings, not just that the campaign didn’t go well, but how it didn’t go well,” said one Perry adviser. “Perry has taken some steps to acknowledge how bad things were. The outreach has been humble and gracious, in the financial community and in the campaign community. He’s telling people he learned a lot.”
- Ron Paul finished fourth in the South Carolina primary on Saturday but vowed to push on, calling the results "the beginning of a long, hard job." Though Paul will skip Florida, which the campaign has deemed too expensive, he'll participate in two debates there this week before the Jan. 31 primary. Paul has said that he'll instead focus on small caucus states like Nevada and Maine, where advisers say he'll go next, to accumulate delegates.
- The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday threw out the state's court-drawn redistricting maps, saying a panel of federal judges in San Antonio should have used the Republican-led Legislature's maps as their starting point. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the San Antonio court, which will draw a new set of maps. The state on Friday asked the San Antonio judges to speed up their schedule so that the state can proceed with its April 3 primaries.
"In the beginning, I thought it would just be promotion of a cause. Then it dawned on me: When you win elections and you win delegates, that’s how you promote a cause." — Ron Paul in his post-South Carolina speech on Saturday
- Texas district cancels sports to improve grades, The Associated Press
- Rick Perry’s Fate in Texas, After the 2012 Presidential Race, The Daily Beast
- Perry’s Good Idea, The New Yorker