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October 18, 2011

For Third Debate In A Row, It's Perry's Last Chance

I suppose that means it's not really his last chance. But he does need to do something, else he'll cede all the "Not Romney" vote to Cain.

In the last debate, Perry didn't make any gaffes, but neither did he impress. He did not seem eager to speak at all, and seemed to want the spotlight to pass to others.

A front-runner can do that; a fading third-placer can't. Perry says this time he'll be more aggressive.

Perry's strategy for tonight? "We're going to pay a little less attention to the rules," says a source in the Perry camp who asked to go unnamed. "One of the things the governor tried to do in New Hampshire [at the Bloomberg/Washington Post debate] was to live by the time limits set by organizers. No one else did. As a result, one could view the governor's performance as having less to say, when in fact he was simply trying to live up to the rules of the debate. They've rarely been enforced, and we're not going to pay much attention to them."

A number of observers remarked that Perry seemed to check out of the New Hampshire debate for long periods of time. Whatever the explanation -- whether he was trying to abide by the rules or simply wasn't engaged in the conversation -- it appears Perry will try to take a more active role in Las Vegas.

If Perry doesn't rise... Well, Ed Morrissey notes there is one last guy to look at.

Of all the other candidates on the stage, Newt Gingrich might be the one to watch. He has slowly gained momentum by being among the most positive on stage (except to moderators) and demonstrating his encyclopedic knowledge and quick wit. If it wasn’t for his personal baggage, he might already be the front-runner — and if both Cain and Perry stumble late, Republicans might be inclined to take on his baggage rather than hand Mitt Romney the nomination virtually unchallenged.

We're doing a liveblog tonight. Probably the last one for a long time.

A lot of people are sick of the debates.

The only reason I'm even doing it is I keep expecting something to change. But mostly the debates are exactly the same.

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posted by Ace at 05:34 PM

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