WILL: Not yet. When he entered the race, he fundamentally misdiagnosed his problem. His problem was not to stop Romney's rise. Romney hasn't been rising for seven years. He's hit a fairly low ceiling in the mid-20s. Rather, it was Perry's job to make Perry seem attractive.
And I think what he's trying to do with his flat tax is to have his Panama Canal moment. In '76, Ronald Reagan is campaigning and not doing well, challenging for the nomination an incumbent president of his own party. He gives a speech in I think it was Florida, and he mentions the Panama Canal, gets an animal roar of approval from the crowd, with a great actor's sense of audiences, "I think I've found it." Went to North Carolina, worked that -- that issue, won, and went all the way to Kansas City and almost was nominated. The question is, can the flat tax be the Panama Canal for Perry?
AMANPOUR: And Romney, he looked pretty rattled. Did he get sort of knocked off that sort of perch of inevitability that everybody was talking about?
TAPPER: He's done a pretty good job in the debates, in -- in seeming above the fray. But he did -- he did get rattled, obviously, by Rick Perry. And Rick Perry, as opposed -- he tried the same line that he had tried in the previous debate, you know, "I'm still talking, I'm still talking, I'm still talking," and Rick Perry the first time backed off. This time, Rick Perry kept talking. And, I mean, I agree with Frank. I don't think it looks good for either candidate.
DOWD: Neither -- neither party, neither Rick Perry or Mitt Romney benefited from that exchange. The only person that benefited from that exchange was Herman Cain, and Herman Cain is the only one that is continuing step by step, rising in the poll. We may see Newt Gingrich rise. But that exchange didn't help anybody but Herman Cain.
BRAZILE: Mitt Romney seemed flustered. And he seemed unprepared to answer a question that he -- that came up back in 2008 when he ran before. So I was surprised...
AMANPOUR: The -- the illegal immigrants?
BRAZILE: That's right. And, I mean, basically, he said, "Stop picking on me. I dealt with that issue when I decided I was going to run for office." And I think...
TAPPER: What a horrible moment.
BRAZILE: Yeah, it really was. I think...
TAPPER: For Pete's sick, I'm running for office. I can't have -- I mean, that's the true definition of a gaffe, when you accidentally tell the truth.
DOWD: Well, Mitt Romney's problem isn't the illegal alien problem. Mitt Romney's -- which Rick Perry identified, which is what his big problem is why he can't go, what George says, above that, is the Republican Party does not think that he's authentic and he has a core set of beliefs. They think, as soon as he wins the nomination, they know exactly what he's going to do, which is shift to the left or shift to moderate. That's their fear.
AMANPOUR: Let me bring back Frank for a second, because you talked about Herman Cain, the 9-9-9 plan looked like it's getting a bit sour. What are voters telling you now about Herman Cain, as more exposure comes to this 9-9-9 plan?