Ahead of what may be another run at the GOP presidential nomination, establishment consultants, including an adviser to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s pro-amnesty FWD.us group, are trying to rebrand Texas Governor Rick Perry’s image.
According to a Politico report, Perry’s advisers include Henry Barbour, the Mississippi establishment figure who is advising six-term incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Jeff Miller, the head of Americans for Economic Freedom, former campaign manager Rob Johnson, former John McCain campaign manager Terry Nelson, and GOP establishment figure Rob Jesmer, who is also advising Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us group.
Perry lost credibility with the base and establishment figures during the 2012 campaign, which he jump into while recovering from back surgery when he saw that there was not a strong and viable contender that could challenge Mitt Romney from the right. He received a thumping in the press from the so-called “smart set” with his “oops” gaffe during a debate in which he could not remember the three federal agencies he would eliminate. He also lost conservatives, who already distrusted him on amnesty issues because of his support for Texas’ version of the DREAM Act, when he said those opposed to in-state tuition for illegal immigrants did not have “a heart” in a debate in Florida. After those comments, his poll numbers plummeted, and he never recovered.
Perry has made the rounds on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and gave a well-received speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Politico notes Perry has also traveled to Davos and mingled with Harvard professors and Arianna Huffington. He has also gone to liberal states like California and Maryland and touted Texas’s economic achievements against the failing blue-state models.
A national CNN poll of potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates recently had him in third, and Perry would have Texas’s economic record and a huge fundraising base should the competitive Texan attempt another run.
But he would also have to again address concerns about crony capitalism, which is something even the Wall Street Journal pointed out was a significant problem for him during the 2012 election cycle.