The Big Conversation:
A month after the election, and long after Rick Perry left the race, more behind-the-scenes details of the governor's ill-fated presidential bid continue to surface.
Perry's presidential campaign ended months ago, but recent election postmortems have drawn new attention to his infamous flameout on the campaign trail.
Among the details revealed at last week's Campaign Decision Makers Conference, a gathering of campaign managers and journalists that Harvard University hosts every election year:
- Though Perry himself has admitted that he entered the race too late, his top political strategist, Dave Carney, said the planning should have started long before the summer of 2011. "The big tactical or strategic mistakes is … if he was going to do this, we should have started it years ago," Carney said, according to U.S. News & World Report. Carney added that because the state Legislature only meets every other year, Perry "has a lot of time on his hands, he could have been doing lots of things, going to help lots of people around the country, going to meet people, become very helpful in Ohio and Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina."
- On the other hand, Carney said, while the campaign should have started preparing earlier, Perry might have benefited from officially entering the race a couple of months later. "We should have waited actually longer," he said. "We should have waited till November maybe. … It would have given us more time to be prepared, more time to do some of the groundwork that's necessary."
- Mitt Romney's campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, lamented Romney's effort during the GOP primary to move to the right of Perry on immigration. "In retrospect, I believe we probably could have just beaten Perry with the Social Security hit," Rhoades said, referring to the heat Perry took for repeatedly calling Social Security a "Ponzi scheme."
- Rumors of a calculated alliance between Romney and Ron Paul were just that. "Strategically it was more important to draw contrasts with Rick Perry when he got in the race because he was taking Tea Party voters from him in Iowa," said Paul senior adviser Trygve Olson.
- Politico has a look at the tough task awaiting U.S. Sen.-elect Ted Cruz at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, of which he was recently named vice chairman. Cruz was reportedly selected for his ability to connect with conservative activists, but he risks angering that very group if the party — still recalibrating after several embarrassing Senate losses this year — decides to back establishment candidates in contested primaries. "I honestly don’t see how he can balance the two," a Republican strategist told Politico. "If he were the chairman and had complete control, that would be one thing, but the NRSC is still run by the leadership and is still biased against the grassroots and conservatives."
- New census data released today confirms the recent drop in illegal immigration to the U.S. As The Associated Press reports, the number of illegal immigrants in the country dropped from 12 million in 2007 to 11.1 million in 2011, likely due to a weak American economy. Immigration to the U.S. from Asian nations, in fact, topped immigration from Latin American countries last year.
- Bill Gimson, the CEO of the state's Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, apologized Wednesday for many of his embattled agency's recent public missteps, including the approval of an $11 million grant in 2010 without proper review. As the Austin American-Statesman reports, the agency's oversight committee has agreed to review Gimson's performance at its January meeting.
"I left there because I had serious concerns about the ethical and moral behavior of the senior leadership. I don’t particularly want to discuss that at length. I think it will be resolved. I am consoled by my certain knowledge that time wounds all heals." — Former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey to Fox Business Network on the rift that led him to leave the conservative group FreedomWorks
- Dave Carney: Reports of the GOP's Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated, U.S. News & World Report
- Mexican court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, The Associated Press
- How the Armored Car Industry Leaves Workers Unprotected, The Texas Observer
- Texas mayor whose tenure spanned six decades dies at 92, Reuters
- Dead pig found at Cypress mosque, Houston Chronicle
- Alaska: Future Swing State?, FiveThirtyEight