Perry Looks Toward November 2012, While Romney Shows His Primary Colors (The Note)

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone ) and AMY WALTER ( @amyewalter )

In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Rick Perry seems to be swinging for the fences while Mitt Romney is swinging at Rick Perry.

Dueling messages from the campaigns this morning — a day ahead of the third presidential debate in as many weeks — illustrate how Perry’s campaign is already on a general election footing while Romney’s team is going for Perry’s jugular.

Perry released a dramatic new web video with the feel of a movie trailer pitting the Texas governor’s leadership abilities against Obama’s. It features gloomy scenes of an America under the current administration and calls Obama “President Zero” — a reference to a recent unemployment report showing job creation has flatlined.

“A great country requires a better direction,” Perry says in the nearly two-minute clip as galloping horse hooves appear on the screen (probably heading directly for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.)

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign continues to take aim at Perry for what the former Massachusetts governor’s team clearly sees as one of the Texan’s biggest vulnerabilities – his stance on social security.

“This election is about choices and voters — and voters will have the opportunity to choose between Mitt Romney, who wants to fix and strengthen Social Security for the next generation, and Rick Perry, who wants to dismantle it,” Romney Communications Director Gail Gitcho said in a statement accompanying six questions for Perry about Social Security.

The first question the Romney campaign poses is whether Perry believes that Social Security is unconstitutional and should be “devolved to the states.”

Just a month or two ago it was Romney who was staying above the fray, but now that Perry is at the front of the pack, Romney has to be the primary candidate.

A new ABC News-Washington Post poll, however, underscores how tough the road ahead is for both leading Republican contenders. “Perry, notably, is seen more unfavorably than favorably among Americans who’ve formed an opinion of him, and Romney manages only a split decision, much like Obama,” according to ABC pollster Gary Langer.

Thirty-one percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Perry compared to 23 percent who view him favorably. (Independents see him more unfavorably than favorably by a 13-point margin.) Thirty-three percent of Americans see Romney unfavorably, while 31 percent have a favorable opinion of him.

“Perry also has an advantage in the Republican base,” Langer writes, “greater strength of support than Romney’s among conservative Republicans and among Americans who call themselves ‘very’ conservative.”

But the man both Republicans are vying to run against clearly has some troubles of his own – 47 percent see President Obama favorably — “fewer than half for the first time in ABC-Washington Post polling since he announced his candidacy in February 2007 and down dramatically from his extraordinary peak, 79 percent, days before he took office in January 2009.”


WHITE HOUSE WATCH: OBAMA AT THE UN. “Scrambling to head off a diplomatic clash, President Barack Obama will publicly push for the Palestinians to drop a statehood bid when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday,” according to the AP’s Julie Pace. “Obama will follow up his speech with separate meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders as he seeks to coax both parties back to direct peace talks. At the same time, U.S. officials are conceding that they probably cannot prevent Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas from moving forward with a request to the U.N. Security Council for full Palestinian membership. Recognizing that Abbas seems intent to proceed, Obama is expected to privately ask the Palestinian leader to essentially drop the move for statehood recognition after Abbas delivers a formal letter of intent to the U.N. on Friday. ‘The president will say, frankly, the same thing in private that he’ll say in public, which is that we do not believe that this is the best course of action for achieving Palestinian aspirations,’ White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said.”

ABC’s Jake Tapper reports for “World News” on the Palestinian statehood minefield. WATCH:


AHMADINEJAD VOWS ‘RESOLUTE’ RESPONSE TO U.S. ON IRAN. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos interviewed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York City yesterday in advance of his address to the United Nations General Assembly: Ahmadinejad questioned the motives of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta who said it’s only a “matter of time” before a revolution hits Iran, like the one that swept the region this Spring. “Does he have any plans for any interference in Iran or does he… foresee the future,” the president asked. “If he has a plan, let him announce it so that we’ll learn it as well. But if he’s foreseeing the future, he should let us know how he’s doing it,” he told Stephanopoulos.”Does this mean the U.S. has some plan for the Middle East?” Stephanopoulos asked Ahmadinejad if he feared a plan. He said he has “no fear of the U.S.” since it has “been against us for 50 to 60 years” but he fired a warning at Panetta. “Does the Secretary of Defense wish to inform us of plans that have been drawn up or he’s just talking? If he’s just saying something, that’s not important, a lot of people talk,” the president said. “It’s not worth being analyzed.  But if he has some plans, and he’s announcing it, I would be telling him you’re making a mistake and the response will be very resolute.” Full transcript:


UN Ambassador Susan Rice Fires Back at Mitt Romney and Rick Perry: Don’t ‘Play Politics’ with Diplomacy. “Saying the Republicans were ‘playing politics’ with international issues, Susan Rice responded to Mitt Romney, who called the President’s handling of Palestinian statehood an ’unmitigated diplomatic disaster,’ and Rick Perry, who suggested the U.S. should cut off funding for the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pursue a UN vote on statehood. ‘I think Governor Perry ought to really consider the real world implications of that for Israel. Because the security assistance that the United States provides the Palestinian Authority benefits Israel directly and Israelis are well aware of that,’ Rice told George Stephanopoulos on ‘Good Morning America’ today. Twice during our interview Rice accused Republicans of ‘playing politics’ with important international issues.”


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE.” ABC’s Amy Walter and Jonathan Karl speak with Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. Also on the program, former Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla, president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.



SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN REDUX ON CAPITOL HILL? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., appear to be on a collision course that could once again threaten to shut down the federal government,” ABC’s Sunlen Miller and John R. Parkinson note. “At issue is the amount of disaster relief funding Congress should enact to help hurricane, flood and tornado-ravaged communities. The Senate last week passed a $7 billion FEMA relief bill. The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for passage but House Republicans have a different strategy for FEMA funding. They want to attaching FEMA funding to a stop-gap continuing resolution that would be used to fund the federal government through Nov. 18th. The House legislation provides a little more than half as much as the Senate bill. House Republicans would provide $3.65 billion for disaster recovery, including approximately $1 billion divided between FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make up shortages in the 2011 fiscaL year, and an additional $2.65 billion for the full 2012 fiscal year. Senate Democrats say this is not enough money for FEMA and chastised House Republicans for calling for relief aid to be off-set with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget when they don’t require the same standard for funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

ROMNEY, PERRY BATTLE FOR K STREET. Presidential hopefuls Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have brought their fight for the GOP nomination to K Street, and they will hold back-to-back fundraisers next week aimed at Beltway-area donors,” according to Roll Call’s Eliza Newlin Carney. “After months of sitting on the sidelines, the sought-after Washington, D.C., lawyers and lobbyists who’ve helped pull in the big money for past presidential races are finally starting to pick favorites. The Perry-Romney matchup on K Street mirrors the larger primary contest, with Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, drawing heavily on ex-aides to and loyalists of President George W. Bush. Perry, the governor of Texas, is leaning in part on his Lone Star State allies and on core conservatives. The candidates, who are emerging as the GOP primary frontrunners, will hold two Washington-area fundraisers apiece in the coming weeks.”

SARAH PALIN: ‘THERE’S STILL TIME.’ According to Sarah Palin, there’s still time to jump into what’s bound to be an ‘unconventional’ presidential race,” ABC’s Sheila Marikar reports. “‘There is still time, Sean, and I think on both sides of the aisle I think you’re going to see people coming and going from this race,’ she said on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show tonight. “And I’m still one of those still considering the time factor.’ When Hannity said the former Alaska governor would have to decide by November, at the latest, for legal reasons, she agreed — to an extent. ‘You do, I mean legally you do,’ she said. “But I do think Sean, this is going to be such an unconventional election cycle. … Mark my word, it is going to be an unconventional type of election process.’ She also weighed in on the Solyndra controversy, calling it one of ‘more and more’ examples of the president’s ‘crony capitalism’ ‘that will surface’ and talked about her hopes for Thursday’s Republican presidential debate on Fox News, the network for which she’s a paid contributor. … One candidate that appears to be in her good graces: Texas Gov. Rick Perry. ‘Perry is right when he talked about Obama’s foreign policies as it relates to Israel,’ she said. ‘It’s been misguided, it’s been weak.’”

GOP LOVES TO HATE DODD-FRANK. On the stump, words like ‘Obamacare’ roll off the tongue. ‘Swap execution facility,’ not so much. That has not stopped Republican presidential candidates from using the Dodd-Frank Act, the sprawling regulatory effort to address the causes of the financial crisis, as their newest anti-Obama target for what ails the economy,” writes The New York Times’ Edward Wyatt. “Republicans have repeatedly invoked the law’s 848-page girth — and its rules on, among other things, trading derivatives and swaps — as a symbol of government overreach that is killing jobs. But in trying to turn Dodd-Frank into the new Obamacare, the disparaging term that opponents use to refer to the new health care law, Republicans are largely ignoring the basic trade-off that the financial law represents, supporters say. ‘Dodd-Frank is adding safety margins to the banking system,’ said Douglas J. Elliott, an economic studies fellow at the Brookings Institution. ‘That may mean somewhat fewer jobs in normal years, in exchange for the benefit of avoiding something like what we just went through in the financial crisis, which was an immense job killer.’ So far, only a small portion of the law, which was signed by the president in July 2010, has taken hold. Of the up to 400 regulations called for in the act, only about a quarter have even been written, much less approved.”

GETTING CLOSER IN WEST VIRGINIA. While the nation begins to focus its collective microscope on the 2012 presidential race, West Virginians — and political junkies — have set their sights on the state’s gubernatorial special election, for which early voting begins today,” reports ABC’s Amy Bingham. “In a state that voted Republican in the past three presidential elections, the Democratic candidate, acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, still has a slight edge in the polls over his Republican rival, businessman Bill Maloney, although Ray’s lead has been cut in half in the past month. While attempts to paint a local race as a national referendum on President Obama were somewhat successful in  New York’s 9th Congressional district’s special election last week, it’s not so cut-and-dried in West Virginia. ‘It’s a quirky race,’ said Neil Berch, an associate political science professor at West Virginia University. ‘Partly because it is only a race for a little over a year of a term,’ and partly ‘because you have an incumbent who is only sort off an incumbent.’ Tomblin, the president of the state Senate, became the acting governor last November after former Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin  won a special election for the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s seat.”



@ granitewinger : Great morning. Love how the elite are so much in denial! Wow does the word clueless come to mind

@ ZekeJMiller : Twitter Gets Even More Political

@ jdickerson : Congratulations on 20 years

@ karenhanretty : I can honestly say I’ve never felt marginalized when working for Republican candidates/committees bc of gender.

@ DailyCaller : GOP leadership faces possible Tea Party revolt in 2012 -



(all times local)

* Mitt Romney holds a town hall meeting in Miami.

* Ron Paul attends a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

* Rick Santorum will address the Aiken Republican Club in Aiken, SC

* Rick Perry hosts fundraisers in Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach, Florida. He will do a live interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News.

Gary Johnson meets with the Eagle-Tribune editorial board in New Hampshire.

* Herman Cain attends a Lake County Republican Club Breakfast at Mission Inn and Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, FL


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