Perry has a lot of ground to make up, little time before Iowa caucuses

November 14, 2011 8:28:01 PM PST
Time is winding down for GOP candidates as we get closer to the Iowa caucuses, one of the first big steps in the process of nominating a candidate for president.

And one man who has a lot of room to make up right now in the polls is Governor Rick Perry.

Perry has 50 days left to convince Iowa voters to give him another look. He is closer to the bottom than the top of the polls, facing an electorate that tells pollsters they don't like him and donors not as eager to give.

But he still has millions to spend and thousands of hands to shake before giving up. His campaign has been on TV here for a few weeks. The ads are everywhere on local TV, but also on FOX News nationally. Perry is here for two days this week and will be back this weekend for another debate.

Speaking of debates, he did well in one this weekend in South Carolina. He did bring up his 'oops' debate performance to make light of it. Seems to be a bit of strategy going on to embrace that and make him human to voters. But is it too late?

"You want to sit down, you want to have an opportunity to be one-on-one with him and make a decision -- Is this the right person for the job? Do they walk the walk?" said Iowa voter, Greg Annexstade.

"The clock is running down and it is not a tie game," said Dennis Goldford, Drake University Iowa Political Commentator.

Perry had a chance to look a few more Iowa voters in the eye Monday night. He spoke at a campaign event in Bettendorf, Iowa, but it was a different Perry than many of us in Texas are used to. The swagger was a little less pronounced, the tone a little more quiet.

"The test of any American is not whether or not we get knocked down -- we're all going to do that, everyone of us has -- but it's whether we get up," he said.

On Tuesday, Perry plans to announce a government reform plan that eliminates the three departments he struggled to name in that infamous debate moment and goes much further than that.

"It touches every branch of government because they each have contributed to the to the demise of America," he said.

It is the latest big announcement from Perry and comes at a time when even his supporters are hesitant.

"I was anxious to hear his speech today because I know he failed miserably in his debate this week and previously," Perry supporter Paula Dewild said.

Matt Whitaker is the volunteer co-chairman of Perry's Iowa effort. He's heard the same thing but thinks there is still time to close the deal here.

"It's going well, what were seeing here in Iowa is a lot of undecideds," Whitaker said.

You don't get the sense of panic from the campaign, but with time running out and money getting harder to raise there is a sense of urgency from staffers in Iowa. That time to move is now or as one told Eyewitness News earlier Monday, it's horn cutting time.

Perry's team suggests Tuesday's speech will be a big deal full of proposals to shake Washington up, they know they need to do the same for the campaign.

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