The first Morning Jolt of the week looks at the delegate count, a former Florida congressman who’s a menace on the roads of his home state, and then this intriguing rumor breaking late Sunday:
Newt-Perry 2012: One Won’t Stop Talking. One Always Felt Actions Spoke Louder.
When you’ve only won two of the first twenty-six contests, you don’t have many cards left to play. Naming a running mate may be one of the better cards remaining in Newt Gingrich’s hand. Fox News’ Ed Henry passes along word from his colleague, ‘Campaign Carl’:
Sources close to Gingrich camp tell Fox’s Carl Cameron they’re holding preliminary conversations w/Rick Perry folks about Newt-Perry ticket. Idea is Gingrich camp thinks announcing Newt-Perry ticket well before Tampa will help Gingrich get evangelicals now … We’ll see. As Carl Cameron notes: Newt floating Perry as running mate 2 days before Alabama, Mississippi could energize conservatives or turn them off. A senior aide to Rick Santorum called Gingrich-Perry trial balloon a desperate Hail Mary to create buzz ahead of Alabama & Mississippi.
Late Sunday night, the denials arose:
But Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said no one in the campaign has reached out to Perry’s camp about a shared ticket.
“While there’s certainly a lot of people who are great admirers of Rick Perry on our campaign. whether or not the campaign has gone as far as to reach out to Governor Perry about a possible VP ticket, any sort of talks along those lines would be premature — it would be something more appropriate for later on in the process,” Hammond told CBS News.
Catherine Frazier, a spokesman for Perry, also called the speculation “humbling but premature.”
Of course, the pick would create as many problems as it solves. For starters, one has to wonder how comfortable Perry would be in a supporting role. Obviously, Perry demonstrated limited appeal on the campaign trail in his own bid, even in states where one might have expected him to catch fire, like South Carolina.
The argument that it would help Newt win two must-win primary states seems quite typical of the candidate: making one of his most important decisions based upon a short-term political need.
Should the Republican presidential candidate really be all that worried about nailing down evangelicals? (Yes, I realize there’s increasing evidence that Mitt Romney has the same problem.) In a field of potential running mates that includes a stellar bench like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, the GOP would end up with… Perry?
And while the concept of geographic diversity on the ticket is overstated, if not overrated… a Georgian and a Texan? Really?
What’s Perry doing these days?
At an intimate event held at CNN’s Grill in downtown Austin, Perry answered questions about his run as a Republican candidate. But being that is was a technology and interactive show, he kicked off the interview talking about his Twitter use.
“In 2009, when we were discussing our campaign, we had heard there was this new thing they are going to be doing called Twitter. We picked up on it, and I thought it was highly successful,” he said. Perry himself tweets from his account and was the only candidate to do so.
“Thank you for reminding me when I misspell something,” he told his followers. Perry noted that he liked to use the service to “bypass the mainstream media” and the fact that “everyone becomes a reporter.” Perry continued to speak candidly on the subject of his loss and the current candidates.
“We still have a lot of time to go,” Perry said when asked who he thought would be the Republican nominee. He did, however, say that Newt Gingrich is still in the fight. Perry endorsed Gingrich when he ended his campaign in January. Perry also addressed Texas as a hub for technology.
Earlier on Friday, he announced that Apple would be creating a $304 million campus in Austin that would make available more than 3,600 jobs. Despite having his arm in a sling because of recent surgery on his right clavicle, Perry was upbeat and humorous. He closed the event by saying that if he were to run in 2016 he would “work on some debate skills and always remember the third thing.”
If indeed Rick Perry has interest in running for president again in the future… will his odds in a future bid be better or worse if he accepts an offer to be Gingrich’s running mate?
As I noted on Twitter, “‘Gingrich-Perry.’ The question is, Rick, Katy, Tyler, The Band, or Platypus?”