By Luke Brinker
Republican strategist Mark McKinnon is mystified by Rick Perry’s poor preparation for the presidential primary debates:
Debates require a lot of hard work and preparation. If you try to wing it, it shows. I gave Governor Perry a pass on his first debate. But I was really surprised at his second debate. And shocked by his third. Because he showed no improvement. At all. He should never have been surprised by questions on social security, illegal immigration, and HPV vaccinations. But he responded like he was hearing the questions for the first time. Even the third time he was asked.
The debates proved how difficult it is to announce a national campaign for president late on the calendar, especially having never run before, and enter into a scramble of debates right out of the gate. I understand that the Perry campaign is completely overwhelmed. But it was his choice to jump in when he did. What I don’t understand and can’t excuse is why is he wasn’t better prepared by his third debate. He should have shelved everything on his calendar to make sure he was ready.
I’d only add that this makes last-ditch efforts to recruit Chris Christie as the GOP’s savior all the more absurd. Christie has become a GOP star largely thanks to YouTube videos bullying conservative targets like public school teachers. Gee, a conservative Republican governor whose fiery rhetoric galvanizes the Tea Party base but is untested on the national stage – I can’t imagine anything going wrong with that.