News / USA

Can Perry Beat Obama in US 2012 Presidential Election?

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry leaves a campaign stop at Harvey's Bakery and Coffee Shop in Dover, New Hampshire August 18, 2011.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry leaves a campaign stop at Harvey's Bakery and Coffee Shop in Dover, New Hampshire August 18, 2011.
Greg Flakus

Texas Governor Rick Perry recently entered the race for the Republican Party presidential nomination and immediately soared to the top of public opinion polls.  Perry is popular with many conservatives, but he may not fare as well with moderates and independent voters if he wins the nomination and faces President Barack Obama in the 2012 election. 

Main appeal

Perry's main appeal to voters is that the state he has run for the past decade has created more jobs than any other.  In debates with Republican rivals, he promises to follow his Texas model to boost national economic growth.

"You give people the opportunity to risk their capital by lowering the tax burden on them, by lowering the regulatory climate, and you will see an American economy that takes off like a rocket ship," Perry said.

Criticism


Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney makes a point as Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) listens during the Reagan Centennial GOP presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California September 7, 2011
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney makes a point as Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) listens during the Reagan Centennial GOP presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California September 7, 2011

But his rivals, especially former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, question Perry's criticism of the federal Social Security program for senior citizens.

"But the question is, do you still believe that Social Security should be ended as a federal program as you did six months ago when your book came out [calling for the end of federal-controlled Social Security]  and returned [the Social Security problems] to the states, or do you want to retreat from that?" asked Romney during a debate.

"I think we ought to have a conversation, " responded Perry.

"We're having that right now, governor. We're running for president," Romney quipped.

Critics say Perry's criticism of Social Security and his stand on a number of other social issues may help him win the conservative votes he needs to secure the Republican nomination, but could undermine his appeal to the moderate voters he will need to win the presidency.

Mark Jones, chairman of Rice University's Political Science Department, has been keeping a close eye on Perry's presidential quest.

"If the focus of the campaign is not so much on jobs and the economy, but more is on these other issues such as social values, religion, things like Social Security, then I think the Perry candidacy would be doomed," Jones said.

Successes

Jones says Perry will do better by focusing on the jobs created in Texas during his time in office.  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas added more than 700,000 private sector jobs in the past ten years, while large states like California and Michigan each lost more than 600,000 jobs.  Perry's rivals question how much credit he should get, noting that the Lonestar state has advantages that were in place long before he assumed office. But Mark Jones says that won't matter to voters.

"Texas has done well on jobs, that is tough to dispute and, from a political perspective that is difficult to dispute. Perry can say 'I created the jobs, " noted Jones.

Weaknesses

He says Perry is generally popular with the conservatives who form the base of the Republican party today, but he does have a few weak spots, like immigration.

Perry campaigned for governor calling for tough measures against crime along the nearly 2,000-kilometer border Texas shares with Mexico.

"If Washington won't protect our border, Texas will," promised Perry in a campaign ad.

But Perry angered some conservatives by endorsing a comprehensive immigration reform plan that they regard as giving amnesty to those who violated US law.

"We need to craft and pass an immigration bill that allows those individuals who are basically economic immigrants to move back and forth across that border," he said.

Hispanic vote

Mark Jones says this could be a problem for Perry among conservatives, but it could help him win Hispanic votes if he becomes the Republican candidate.

"He has sort-of tried to have his cake and eat it too [ have it both ways] on the immigration issue," noted Jones. "He does not want to alienate the right, so he talks a semi-tough line, but he doesn't do anything that might over alienate Hispanics who might otherwise want to vote for him."

Jones thinks Perry's biggest problem may be that some Republicans fear his more extreme positions could undermine him in a race against Mr. Obama. He says the more moderate Mitt Romney may take advantage of that.

"What Mitt Romney is going to do over the next six months is convince those same voters as well as moderate voters that Rick Perry is unelectable in the general election," Jones said.

Rick Perry has never lost an election, but his whole career has been in Texas. His big national test will begin early next year with the Iowa caucuses and the nation's first primary in New Hampshire.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid