The Corner

Will on Wife’s New Job at Perry Campaign

On ABC’s This Week, George Will addressed the new role his wife, former Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole adviser Mari Maseng, has taken on at the Perry campaign. Maseng will advise Perry on “messaging and debate preparation” — a timely addition to be sure. He also indirectly addressed accusations, which he sourced to the “less mature members of the Romney campaign,” that the move set up a conflict of interests, since, as an ABC commentator, Will criticized Perry’s opponents in the days after his wife started working for the campaign.

AMANPOUR: And he’s still top of the polls. Let me ask you, George, about Rick Perry, who as we all know had a very, very, very bad week, not just his first bad week. Why should anyone believe that he can turn it around? And I know you want to take care of some personal housekeeping this week, as well.

WILL: Yes, for more than 30 years, my wife, Mari, has been in the political business. She was a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan’s campaign and his White House. She was his last White House director of communications. As part of her profession, which is to consult with businesses and congenial political candidates, she has been in the political business off and on for 30 years. Last Monday, she became part of the Perry campaign, specializing in messaging and debate preparation.

AMANPOUR: Isn’t she banging her fists against her head then?

(LAUGHTER)

WILL: No, that’s what she’s there for, is to fix things. Some of the more excitable and perhaps less mature members of the Romney campaign have tried to make this personal. At the Michigan debate, after the debate, Mari waved to Ann and Mitt Romney. They came over and talked. They’ve been guests at our dinner table. And Romney gave her a kiss on the cheek, and they went their separate ways. They’re both mature professionals.

AMANPOUR: You — you have — when Rick Perry first started to get in, you were quite optimistic about his chances. Do you feel now that he has a chance? I mean, it’s not just his gaffes. It’s his poll numbers.

WILL: Well, he’s got better advisers. Beyond that, his poll numbers are down. He had a steep climb before Wednesday night. This climb got steeper. But I would remind you that in — in 2008 campaign, a presidential candidate gave a speech in Oregon in which he said, “I’ve visited all 57 states and have one more to go.”

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

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