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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid