POSITIONING FOR FLORIDA : Politico’s Ben Smith Admits Paul Won Last Week's Debate; Perry's Hands on Paul bring Speculation

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Perry in Paul's Face
Perry in Paul's Face

Photographs circulated of Republican front-running Rick Perry verbally attacking mild-mannered Ron Paul on the stage of the California debate. Officially Paul has downplayed the Perry pictures, but Smith wrote that Jesse Benton, Paul’s campaign manager, explained drawing Perry’s fire was “one of our goals.”

Benton told Smith, “Clearly we ruffled some feathers and that speaks to the fact that they’re taking Ron very, very seriously. What it shows is that Rick Perry is a very aggressive, in your face person. He puts his hands on people, he tries to show that he’s the alpha dog, he tries to psychologically intimidate people.”

The Paul campaign manager told Politico’s Smith that the Rand Paul victory for Kentucky’s senator demonstrated “what we can do and what it takes to win.”  Benton explained that as Dr. Paul laughed off the Perry exchange the campaign itself liked the “contrast.” Referring to Perry’s in-your-face-attitude, Benton said, “some people like that ; other people like someone who’s going to be more thoughtful , and not a bully.”

The Politico column has drawn hundreds of Facebook responses, most of them identifying themselves as college students.

David Monahan, UCCS, countered the Main Stream Media’s (MSM) characterization of the California debate as the “Rick & Romney Show.” Monahan wrote it later became “the Ron Paul Impersonation Hour. Everyone was trying to take a part of [Paul’s] message and turn it into their personal sound byte.”


Reacting to Rick Perry’s entry into the race, Kelly Lane believes he was “put in… to steal the momentum away from Ron in the weeks after the Iowa straw poll. [Sarah] Palin will enter at some point to do the same thing.” Lane forecasts that despite MSNBC’s apology , “Every debate will be a MSM effort to stifle Paul’s momentum . There apologies are a futile attempt at damage control. CNN will do the same Monday night.”

Jaleesa Carter of South Plains College wrote that “Ron Paul won the debate by exposing the overwhelming establishment bias against him,” adding that the moderators asked him questions that taunted him to defend the libertarian philosophy rather than “taking about real solutions.”

Pulaski Technical College student, Clint Cook, called Rick Perry’s after-debate reaction to Paul outrageous. “We cannot let Rick Perry get the nomination. He was caught sticking his finger in a man’s face  and grabbing his arm. We need leadership through representation, not leadership through force.”

Duane E. Maddy responded that a GOP nomination of anyone other than Paul is “political suicide.” In Maddy’s words, “Ron Paul is the only candidate that motivates any passion in this presidential campaign. No one is passionate about Romney or Perry's campaign, not even Romney or Perry. If the Libertarian wing of the Republican Party is cut off (like many on the right are trying to do) then Obama will be re-elected handily. Ron Paul accounts for, by most counts, 15-20% of the votes. Ron Paul supporters won't vote for anyone else.”

Sherrie Gibson calls out “Hey Mr. Smith” and socks the Politco columnist with a wake up call: “If the established media were allow by their war profiteer handlers to tell the truth, even more people would realize … this is a man of integrity and principle. He’s been on the top tier for months and wins polls because American people are waking up. Enough of the lies, enough of the wars and enough of corrupt government on both sides of the aisle.”

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