Romney's strategy throughout the year has been to be an understated presence in the GOP debates. Neither a target nor a standout, he. But Perry cannot become part of the wallpaper. He defends his record. He defends his positions. For better or worse, he fights back.
Whichever of these candidates prevails, the next GOP nominee will have a problem. In a recent Fox News debate, all of the GOP hopefuls said they would reject a deficit reduction deal even if Democrats offered $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases.
In this debate, Perry's first, he took a pass on the opportunity to appear more reasonable than the smooth talkers by saying he would accept a 10-1 package. It's a sad day when every one of these candidates would be afraid to cut a sweet deal.