NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Though skipping the
remaining GOP debates might seem like a major mistake for Texas Gov. Rick Perry as he languishes near the bottom of the polls, it might yet be the strategy that revitalizes his campaign's momentum. Perry spontaneously rose as the Republican frontrunner in the week he announced his candidacy, but his fall has been just as meteoric after multiple "pathetic" (as one pollster put it) debate performances.
"At this rate the debates are not doing him much good," TheStreet contributor Mallory Factor said. "So maybe he should talk policy and forget about any debating." Perry's debate performances have led to numerous cries that the governor has
struggled mightily on the stage. Perry himself said on Wednesday he made a mistake taking part in the debates at all. The history of Perry's poor poll numbers have corresponded with his poor debate performances. The Texas governor slumped behind Mitt Romney for the first time as a formal candidate after his Sept. 22 performance in Orlando, Fla., and his favor among Republican voters drooped to single-digit percentages after the Oct. 11 and Oct. 18 debates. Perry would not be the first person to skip a debate this season -- Jon Huntsman boycotted the Nevada debates as a way to protest the state's decision to hold its caucuses on the date that many believed New Hampshire wanted to hold its first-in-the-nation primary. Former President George W. Bush skipped a debate in 1999 at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire to attend an event that honored his wife, Laura, on the same evening. Granted, Bush lost the New Hampshire primary to John McCain in 2000, but it didn't hurt the frontrunner in the larger GOP race. "All they're interested in is stirring it up between the candidates instead of really talking about the issues that are important to the American people," Perry told Fox News on Tuesday. Translation: Rick Perry gets stirred up yelling at the better-prepared Romney, who meticulously prepares every event with an arsenal of canned attacks and retorts for all things Perry-related. The New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucuses heavily favor Romney right now, but if Perry follows through with his debate embargo and campaigns hard in Iowa and South Carolina, the Texas governor could find himself level with the former Massachusetts governor ahead of the hugely important Florida primary.
|Texas Gov. Rick Perry|
Then again, Perry runs behind Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich now in most major polls -- something the governor's campaign needs to parry, which will be difficult without a presence at the debate. "I think
skipping the debates helps Newt and Herman," Factor said. -- Written by Joe Deaux in New York. >To contact the writer, click here: Joe Deaux. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/JoeDeaux. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org