by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The showdown at Dartmouth will be different from earlier debates. The discussion will be restricted “exclusively [to] issues related to the economy, debt, deficits, taxes, trade and jobs, the topic most on the minds of American voters,” says a spokesman for Bloomberg News, one of the media co-hosts along with the Washington Post.
It’s not clear whether that will help or hurt Perry, the struggling former front-runner. …
… [I]t is in the area thought to be Perry’s strongest suit — the economy and jobs — that the Texas governor might increasingly have a problem. In two months on the campaign trail, Perry’s economic program has been essentially one sentence: Look what I did in Texas. Now, voters want more specifics.
In the Orlando debate, Fox News moderator Bret Baier pointed out that most of the candidates have produced detailed plans for economic recovery. Perry hasn’t. “Where is your jobs plan?” Baier asked.
“Well, you will see a more extensive jobs plan,” Perry said. But it’s been almost three weeks since the debate, and Perry still hasn’t released a specific economic strategy. It’s still Texas, Texas, Texas. “People understand that the state of Texas, during the last decade, something special happened there,” Perry says.
Meanwhile, front-runner Mitt Romney is quoting at length from his 59-point economic plan, and the surging Herman Cain is almost chanting “9-9-9.” Perry needs a plan; a debate specifically devoted to the economy seems a reasonable place to unveil it.