Consensus is hard to find in Washington, D.C. these days, but a strong consensus has been found after the GOP debate in Orlando Thursday: TX Gov. Rick Perry struggled.
Talking Points Memo (TPM) has pulled together a video of conservatives pounding Perry in the aftermath of the debate. Critiques range from his delivery, to his demeanor, to his debate preparation. Many seem to think that Perry -- who has been the frontrunner in the young presidential race -- took a massive hit:
TPM has also aggregated some of the criticisms:
Bill Kristol published an editorial at the Weekly Standard, stating the magazine’s official reaction to the debate: “Yikes.” Kristol negatively reviewed nearly all the candidates — pining for Chris Christie to save the GOP by entering the race. As for Perry’s performance, Kristol writes: “But no front-runner in a presidential field has ever, we imagine, had as weak a showing as Rick Perry. It was close to a disqualifying two hours for him.”
Rich Lowry wrote on Fox News: “A few weeks ago, the question was how far and fast he would ascend; now, after his third debate, it’s how much he’ll drop.” he also wrote on National Review: “I really thought Perry would get better, but he hasn’t.”
RedState’s Erick Erickson wrote late Thursday night: “Rick Perry was a train wreck in this debate. He flubbed his response on Romney flip-flopping. He got the first question tonight and stumbled. Good grief.”
Michelle Malkin is especially shocked:
The cringe-worthiest moment, by a hair, was when Perry botched what should have been his most potent attack on Mitt Romney’s chronic flip-flopping. As I noted on Twitter when it happened, any random high schooler at the CPAC conference in Washington could have done better than this.
If this is how Perry’s going to take Obama on in debates, we’re in trouble. Someone inject him with some Red Bull and a dash of Herman Cain’s personality.Dana Perino, the former Bush White House press secretary and current Fox News commentator, had this to say:
This was like a 3rd date with Perry - where you decide if you’ll go on a 4th…would you?
And Ann Coulter, in a rare moment of genuine wit and brevity, summed it up: “Governor Perry losing debate with his own tongue.”
Pete Wehner piled on:
I hope Governor Rick Perry enjoyed his six-week run as the front runner of the GOP field, because it’s now over.
Perry has had three debates. His first was mediocre. His second debate performance was weaker than his first, and last night’s debate was worse than either of the first two. Whatever strengths the Texas governor has, debating is not one of them, for the reasons covered by my colleagues. He comes across as unprepared, sometimes, unsteady, and at times his answers border on being incoherent.
So did Jonathan Tobin:
Rick Perry entered tonight’s Republican presidential debate with an opportunity to reverse the image of him as a poor speaker that had slowed the momentum of his campaign. Instead, he reinforced it. Perry may have started out strong, but once again, his energy and focus seemed to leave him in the second hour of the debate. He clearly flubbed a chance to nail Romney on health care as well as his other changes of position.
The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin wondered if Perry's "collapse" means conservatives will finally see Chris Christie enter the race.
Ouch. This all doesn't look good for Perry. How do you think he did? Weigh in below.