News / USA

Growing Tensions Between Romney, Perry in Republican Race

Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry argue during a Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, October 18, 2011.
Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry argue during a Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, October 18, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

The Midwest state of Iowa has scheduled its presidential caucus vote for January 3, in what amounts to the official start of the process to choose a Republican Party nominee to run against President Barack Obama next year.

The battle for the party nomination has taken a personal turn in recent days between two of the top contenders, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Tensions between the Romney and Perry camps have been building for months and their apparent mutual dislike for each other burst onto the stage during the most recent Republican debate in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Perry came into the debate determined to be more aggressive after several mediocre performances and a drop in support in public opinion polls.

Perry chose to focus on allegations several years old that Romney knowingly employed illegal immigrants to cut his lawn.

PERRY:  “And Mitt, you lose all of your standing from my perspective because you hired illegals [illegal workers].”

ROMNEY:  “I don’t think I’ve ever hired an illegal in my life.

PERRY:  "I'll tell you what the facts are!"

ROMNEY:  "Rick, again, I'm speaking!  I'm speaking!”

Romney says he stopped using the landscaping company once he found they used illegal workers.

But he and Perry continued to spar over the issue during the debate.  At one point a clearly frustrated Romney gently put his hand on Perry’s shoulder in an effort to get him to stop talking.

“You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking and I suggest that if you want to become president of the United States you have to let both people speak.”

Illegal immigration has become an issue in the Republican campaign and Perry has been criticized by some of his rivals for not doing more to stop illegal immigrants from coming into Texas.

Public opinion polls show Romney and Georgia businessman Herman Cain are the top two contenders for the Republican nomination at the moment.  Perry trails further behind along with Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Rounding out the Republican field are former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman.

The surprise of late has been political newcomer Herman Cain, the former top executive of a pizza company and the only African-American in the field.

Cain has gained notice with an appealing personality and a bold tax reform plan.

But Cain spent most of the latest debate trying to fend off attacks from rivals that his tax plan would wind up hurting poor and middle class voters.

“Politicians, they don’t want to throw out the current tax code and put in something that is simple and fair,” he said.

Analysts say Cain has risen in the polls because conservative Republican voters are still looking for an alternative to Mitt Romney.

Tom DeFrank is Washington bureau chief for the New York Daily News and a regular analyst on VOA’s Issues in the News program.

“He is a personification of a protest by the most conservative elements of the Republican party, who need a standard-bearer because they don’t like Mitt Romney who has emerged as the frontrunner but one who is viewed with a lack of enthusiasm by especially the Tea Party activists and the evangelicals [Christians],” he said.

Perry is now trying to regain his footing and offer a stronger challenge to Romney, but political strategist Matthew Dowd, an analyst for ABC News, says the tensions between the two men could turn off voters.

“It does not help the Republicans to have this kind of fight, especially how personal it got.  That helps Obama.  But President Obama is in a difficult spot and he knows it because of the state of the economy,” said Dowd.

White House officials have focused most of their attention on Romney of late, signaling that they believe the former Massachusetts governor remains the most likely Republican nominee to face President Obama next year.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
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 A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid