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September 07, 2011

Perry Heads Into Debate as Frontrunner

Tonight's Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library will be the first where Rick Perry is the frontrunner -- and the first where Mitt Romney is not.

The Texas Tribune notes Perry has had "three weeks of superstar media treatment and a string of heavily attended fundraisers. But his opponents are circling, waiting for the opportunity the debate could provide to knock him down a notch. Perry, clearly anticipating this, went on the offensive Tuesday afternoon, sending out statements dinging two of his opponents, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. "

Mark McKinnon: "Perry has the least and the most to prove. And the stakes are huge. If he does okay, his status as frontrunner will be cemented. If he blows it, he could claw his way to the bottom fast. The game plan for Perry? Just come across as calm, thoughtful, and most of all, reasonable."

Erica Grieder: "Anyone who's counting on Perry showing up this evening and tripping over himself, in the style of George W. Bush, is in for an unpleasant surprise. Perry has occasionally been a lazy debater and he is sometimes lackadaisical about keeping informed, but he has cultivated a number of rhetorical strengths."

The debate begins at 8 pm ET.


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