In response to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s debate performance, the campaign for the former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, has released a video that attacks Perry’s greatest policy weakness—immigration.
Perry quickly rose to front-runner status almost as soon as he entered the Republican primary, provoking Romney to finally go on the offensive against one of his opponents.
In the most recent debate in Florida, Perry performed poorly. His delivery was shaky, and even worse, he made several comments that have angered the conservative base that had previously been supportive, specifically his comments about immigration.
Romney’s video clearly plays upon that debate performance and targets Perry’s comments about illegal immigration that were so offensive to many conservatives. It only adds to the relentless attacks that Perry has received during and after each debate on the Gardasil injections, Social Security, and now immigration.
Romney’s minute-long video, called “They Agree,” shows how Perry “agrees” with a number of Democrats, including President Obama and Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, on immigration.
During the debate, Perry made very deliberate comments about why he supported public funds going to the college tuition of illegal immigrants, which were played during Romney’s video in between clips of Obama essentially saying the same thing, and O’Malley talking about why he likes Perry’s immigration views.
“If you say that we should not educate children that come into our state for no other reason than that they have been brought there, by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart,” said Perry.
Perry’s answer on immigration may help him in the general election, but the base of the Republican Party is unlikely to be pleased with a candidate that seems to be suggesting that amnesty programs for illegal immigrants are a positive and that opposing them is heartless.
Besides the effective attack, Romney’s campaign demonstrated that it can adroitly use social media to get a message out to the public. The video was put in an ad on Twitter that can reach a large, engaged audience.
Using this technology effectively will be vitally important to every presidential campaign in the years to come, and will allow candidates to go straight to a large number of people. This can be done without the middlemen and journalists that act as the gatekeepers.
Perry’s campaign has also been on the offensive against its chief rival, trying to paint Romney as a flip-flopper and a man who is hiding his record. Perry released a video this week called “Words Have Meaning,” which pointed out how some favorable comments about Romney’s Massachusetts health care plan were deleted from the paperback edition of his book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.
With Herman Cain winning the Florida straw poll, in which Perry finished a distant second, Perry’s star has been fading fast. Romney’s relentless attacks against his greatest opponent in the primary have been both carefully crafted and directed to hit him from both left and right. It is leading many conservative base supporters and activists to look for a different candidate that speaks to their values.
You can watch Romney’s video here: