Tis (Not) the Season to Be Rick Perry

Perry courts Iowans with TV ads about healthcare, religion and how gay soldiers are ruining Christmas.


Eileen Smith

Gov. Rick Perry’s arch-nemesis Newt Gingrich is now leading in the national Gallup poll with 37 percent of voters compared to Mitt Romney’s 22 percent. Perry has somehow managed to attract 7 percent of registered Republicans but is still trailing the surprisingly strong “other candidates/unsure” by 10 points. In a Rasmussen Reports poll, Perry would lose to President Obama by double digits in a hypothetical match-up (46 percent to 34 percent). That’s not a match-up. That’s a death match.

But Perry is still looking to Iowa to be his field of dreams, if only the voters will come. The Perry camp is spending $1 million over the next three weeks on a TV ad blitz in Iowa. Politico reports that Perry is headed to Iowa on Saturday and staying there up until the Jan. 3 caucuses. Two words: bus tour. Two more words: too late. The most recent CNN poll shows Gingrich beating Romney in Iowa, 33 percent to 20 percent, and Ron Paul in third place with 17 percent. Perry’s in fourth with 9 percent. That’s actually not bad for Perry, considering that he’s garnering all of 3 percent in Florida.

Don We Now Our Gay Apparel

On Wednesday, Perry released a controversial ad entitled “Strong,” in which he takes on the president for Obama’s alleged war on Christmas and religion. So far the ad has received more than 300,000 “dislikes” on YouTube. “I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a Christian,” Perry says. “But you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion.”

See how he slipped in that “gays in the military” bit? Genius. Not only is he reminding us that he’s a Christian (as if we could forget), he’s also touting his anti-gay credentials while hinting that openly gay soldiers are ruining Christmas for the rest of us. Especially the innocent children, who are practically arrested when they’re in line to see Santa. The ad also subtly raises questions of whether Obama is really a Christian himself. Not to mention Romney.

According to the Huffington Post, not everyone in the Perry campaign was particularly happy with the ad. Perry’s top pollster, Tony Fabrizio, called it “nuts” and one of Perry’s consultants, Liz Mair, happens to serve on the board of the pro-gay rights group GOProud. The executive director of GOProud responded on Twitter by “outing” Fabrizio using an anti-gay slur. Classy all around.

The Perry campaign released another new ad, “Repeal,” on Thursday attacking both Romney and Gingrich for supporting “Obamacare,” which may even be worse than ruining Christmas. (The “dislike” button on YouTube has been disabled.) “I won’t let the big government liberals ruin this country,” Perry says, ending with “I’m an outsider.”

The real question is which he would repeal first: Obamacare or those soldiers in The Nutcracker?