SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — Rick Perry is looking to make a strong first impression on the national stage. Mitt Romney is hoping for another flawless debate performance. And Michele Bachmann, perhaps, is shooting for relevance in what increasingly appears to be a two-man GOP presidential race.

With the national unemployment rate stuck at 9.1 percent, the economy was likely to dominate Wednesday’s debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Republicans competing for the chance to challenge President Barack Obama next fall were taking the stage one day before the incumbent Democrat rolls out a jobs-creation plan.

It’s the first of three Republican presidential debates scheduled over the next three weeks.

The events promise to shape the GOP presidential race heading into this winter’s series of nominating primaries and caucuses. National and state polls show Perry, the Texas governor, and Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, competing for the lead. Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman who was running strong in polls earlier this summer, is trailing, along with no less than a half dozen other lesser-known Republicans.

This would be the first debate appearance for Perry, who has been in the race just a few weeks.

But his attendance was in question. Aides said Tuesday that he plans to debate. But Perry, who was in Texas dealing with one of the most destructive wildfire outbreaks in the state’s history, left open the possibility that he may skip the debate. Asked whether he would have time to prepare even if he does attend, Perry said, “We’ll deal with that when it comes up.”

Should Perry attend as expected, he will face a bright spotlight in part because he doesn’t have extensive debate experience and is competing in his first national campaign. He’s a natural politician, but aides privately acknowledge that Perry doesn’t count debating among his strongest skills. In 10 years as governor, Perry has debated other candidates just four times — and last year, he didn’t debate his general election opponent at all.

Perry entered the race and immediately jolted the GOP electorate with a shot of energy. But he found himself in hot water for controversial remarks, including suggesting there are “gaps” in the theory of evolution, questioning whether humans play a role in climate change and referring to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme. The debate will test whether he can withstand on-camera questioning or barbs from his competitors over those issues.

Romney, who led the field before Perry became a candidate, has turned in two strong debate performances largely by staying above the fray while his rivals sparred onstage.

This time, he may not have that luxury.

Romney is expected to come face to face with Perry just as the former Massachusetts governor has been stepping up his efforts to contrast himself with his chief rival. Romney has been emphasizing his private-sector business experience and suggesting it’s superior to Perry’s, who has held elected office since 1985. Romney also has started drawing distinctions with Perry on immigration: Romney opposed legislation to allow illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition breaks, while Texas universities allow illegal immigrants to receive those discounts.

Romney was debating a day after unveiling a major economic plan that he is using to sell himself as the candidate with the most business knowhow.

For Bachmann, the debate comes as she’s looking to regain traction she lost when Perry entered the race. Both candidates attract support from tea party activists, and the two are competing for the larger share of their votes.

Perhaps foreshadowing debate skirmishing, a group called Keep Conservatives United — unaffiliated with Bachmann’s campaign but seemingly working to help her candidacy — ran a TV ad in South Carolina this week that questioned Perry’s record on government spending, a key issue with those voters.

Bachmann has a lot on the line.

Since she won a key test vote in Iowa on Aug. 13, Bachmann has faced questions about the true strength of her campaign. Her campaign manager and deputy manager have left her staff. And she’s fallen in early state and national polls.

Among others also planning to be on stage were Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who has called his rivals extreme, as well as ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Georgia businessman Herman Cain. All have struggled for attention.

Another candidate, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, has made waves in recent weeks, coming in a close second in the Iowa straw poll.

In recent days, Paul increasingly has gone after Perry, putting out a TV ad suggesting that Perry wants to unravel Reagan’s legacy. It drew a rebuke from Perry’s campaign, which said in a statement, “Like President Reagan, Gov. Perry has cut taxes and freed employers from government regulations that kill jobs.”

All that is fitting given the debate’s location.

Wednesday will be the third time the hilltop library — a shrine to all things Reagan — will provide the backdrop for a Republican presidential debate. Former first lady Nancy Reagan will welcome the candidates.

It’s a dramatic setting. The candidates speak within sight of Reagan’s jet, Air Force One, and the 40th president is buried on the grounds. The candidates hope to be seen as heirs to the Reagan legacy, while inevitably being measured against it.

It’s often said Republicans are in search of the next Reagan — a charismatic conservative with cross-party appeal — and at the library his presence is inescapable.

NBC News and Politico are sponsoring the debate, which will be moderated by NBC News anchor Brian Williams and Politico editor-in-chief John Harris.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (73)
  1. frozenrunner says:

    It appears to be a race to see who can come off as the most conservative. Let them give specifics on what they would cut so you can hear the backlash from the mainstream. Governor Perry will duck this event because the other debaters would tear him to shreds.

    1. frozenrunner says:

      OBAMA SUCKS!! Anything is better!

      1. Brian says:

        So you say…but he’ll easily beat any of these d-list candidates in 2012

  2. snowman says:

    Perry may have created jobs in Texas,but most were miinimum wage.
    Also, Perry has executed more people on death row tham any other governor.
    no better than a mass murderer

    1. louis says:

      That is all the jobs left to create. Better them than nothing… Besides, if your work force is uneducated, what do you expect?

      What have other governors done in other states?

    2. frozenrunner says:

      Or abortionist?

  3. G Dog says:

    Read my lips.

    No new Texans!!!!

    1. meow says:

      LMAO … awesome!

  4. lance says:

    must be pretty good if you three flamers don’t like him

  5. Citizen says:

    From the Dismal Political Economist’s blog:

    “It turns out a lot of the Texas job creation that readers will be hearing Gov. Rick Perry brag about came about from public hiring. The WSJ reports that 300,000 public sector jobs have been added in Texas in the last decade.

    “Over the past decade, Texas has added more people than any other state and now accounts for 8.1% of the U.S. population, up from about 7.4% in 2000. And Texas has added more than one in five of the public-sector jobs nationwide, including those at the local, state and federal levels”

    And what does Mr. Perry have to say,

    “Government doesn’t create any jobs,” he said last month on Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News. “They can actually run jobs away.”

    Wow, that the man can say that with a straight face and not suffer near fatal embarrassment means that maybe he is Conservative Presidential material.

    Of course, the job creation must be high paying jobs, right

    Critics say many of the new jobs are low-wage and without benefits; according to federal data, the state is tied with Mississippi for the largest percentage of hourly workers who make minimum wage or less, at 9.5%.

    So there it is, if you want a minimum wage job (or less, not sure how that happens) the road to Texas is wide open for you.”

    1. mary says:

      glen beck has not been on fox for six months.

      1. Citizen says:

        The quote is from an earlier blog this summer. Information doesn’t change….

        1. mary says:

          if you can’t make a point with the truth maybe you don’t have a point.

          1. Citizen says:

            @mary. A quote is a quote. What don’t you understand about using a quote? We exact quotes all the time in education–quotes that stem from hundreds of years in the past. Guess you education about exact quotation and giving credit for comments to people is missing. Must not have passed your English senior paper.

        2. Betty says:

          So its not from the Glenn Beck Show on Fax news as you stated above? I guess if you are going to “Quote” someone you should at least have an accurate source.

          1. Citizen says:

            @Betty & mary. The quote is from the Dismal Political Economist’s blog, as I stated in the opening sentence. The Dismal Political Economist in turn quotes Governor Perry on the Glenn Beck show a few months ago–a quote within a quote. That should not be hard for anyone to understand who can read above a 4th grade level.

    2. dan says:

      Over the past 10 years over 70% of the jobs created in Texas were to the private sector. Please read the BLS reports.
      Under Obama the unemployment rate has only gone up. He has spent Trillions or dollars for what? Now he wants an additional $300 Billion to fund his failed experiment.

  6. Flower child says:

    A side by side picture like this one of Perry with a similar one of Michelle Bachmann would surely frighten the kiddies on Halloween!

    1. dan says:

      Republicans dont need photoi shop and posede photos to win the election. Have you ever seen a picture of the president lighing up his heaters? Nope, cant happen. The only photos you see are of him gazing to the stars like he is in deep thought.
      Yes, its time for a change alright!

      1. Flower child says:

        Pretty slanderous statement, dan. Care to back that up with facts, or do you just live in your GOP delusionary world.

      2. Jim says:

        I’ve seen plenty of photos of the president smoking. The speaker of the House, too. You’re deluded, dan. Turn off the talk radio and join the real world. It’s a beautiful day.

  7. G Dog says:


    So please, pray tell, inform us all as to what Governor Perry did with the hundreds of millions of federal stimulus dollars that Texas accepted right after Perry condemned the program.

    If not on public sector jobs, then on what?????

    1. Carl says:

      So you have a problem with a Govenor taking the Stimulus funds and actually creating jobs with it? Do you realize that its the State of Texas business and tax culture is what actually fuels job growth? I didnt think so. Funds alone do not create jobs.
      Keep looking for a job G Dog

      1. G Dog says:

        He condemned it, then took the money and then used it to increase the number of state government jobs then he takes credit for being this big job creator. See any hypocrisy there, Carl???

        Funds don’t create jobs. Really. What method do you use to pay people. Cowboy boots? Rutabagas? Tumble Weeds?

        BTW, Carl. I’ve got a job. It has wages, benefits, retirement plan and all kinds of neat stuff that the”job creators” of today don’t offer. They just want you to put on your knee pads, do the work and get underpaid for it. Like you.

        1. Carl says:

          Over 70% of the jobs created in Texas over the past 10 years were in the private Sector. See the BLS reports. Please tell me which other high tax state created more jobs with the same funds?
          If you simply use govt funds to pay workers it will run out at sometime and the jobs that were created will go away. That is unless to push Congress to continue funding new jobs which is going to happen tomorrow night in the big jobs speech. This has been Obama’s plan but it does not sustain long term jobs – Get it, G Dog?

          1. G Dog says:

            I get it.

            Corporate profits are near record levels, but the companies are sitting on the money, not hiring anyone. That helps the big boys but doesn’t help get the economy going. It doesn’t create demand. It doesn’t improve consumer confidence. It doesn’t do anything for an economy that is based on consumer spending.

            CEOs of the largest companies saw their personal income increase 23% in the last 12 months. How’d you do Carl?

            The rich are getting richer and the rest of us are told to suck it.

            Do you get THAT, Carl?

            1. Carl says:

              Corporations are sitting on cash until Obamacare is defeated in the courts. The high tax and job killing program is not doing anything for consumer or corporate confidence.
              Govt spending will never employ anyone for long term jobs. Get it?

              1. G Dog says:

                Yeah, because the American Health Insurance industry is so fantastic. Double digit premium increases every year, increasing co-pays, cancelling your insurance if you have an expensive course of treatment coming. CEOs like the jackwad at United Health care who made $140 million in 2009.

                And THAT”S if you are not among the 46 million Americans who have no health insurance.

                Boy that Obamacare sure is a bad thing. Who would want every American covered by health insurance and insurance companies have some competition instead of their collusion?

                1. Carl says:

                  If you dont have insurance G Dog you can apply thru MNCare. Its actually a very competitive product for those that are uniunsurable. Our govt is actually keeping you from getting quotes from out of State providers. So why would MN need a National program?
                  I have no problem with everyone being covered as long as I dont have to pay YOUR share.

            2. leroy says:

              What are you saying G Dog? That if a company is successful and has lots of money that they have to hire uneducated, incompetent workers to reduce their profits?

              Seriously, do you even know what you’re talking about?

              1. Jim says:

                The argument from Republicans is that corporations shouldn’t pay taxes because they’ll use the money they would pay in tax to hire people. But this is a lie. That’s the point I think G Dog is making.

  8. frozenrunner says:

    Perhaps Lance or Carl can explain how on a national level the Texas plan would work. Texas has gotten jobs by lower wages and taxes. On a national level where are those jobs going to come from? Minimum and minimal wage jobs will provide food and maybe rent, but not much else. With no consumer spending power there will not be much of a recovery. While you are at it, explain what will be cut when they decrease revenue and call for a balanced budget. Clinton balanced the budget by trimming the military. Areas that lost bases were not happy. What are these candidates going to cut and can you understand the impact it will have?

    1. Carl says:

      Funny you ask where jobs are going to come from. Obama has had the same question even after spending Trillions of dollars on buying jobs.
      Jobs will come from the private sector after Obama is voted out of office. Most companies are sitting on cash waiting to see if they are going to incur the job killing obamacare tax. Why hire now only to be punished in the near future.
      A 5-10% cut across the board will put us back into a balanced budget. Considering the record unemployment, comparing Clinton to Obama at this stage of the game isnt quite fair. Clinton road out the DotCom boom that later was determined to be an Accounting nightmare and most of those boom companies failed miserably soon after Clinton left office.

      1. Yeeehaaaaa! says:

        Someone gets it!!!!!!!! Finally. Go Carl! Such an uneducated bunch here.

        1. Citizen says:

          Sounds to me, Carl, as if the private sector is actively working at withholding jobs and causing a monetary liquidity problem on purpose to be sure to defeat President Obama in 2012 by setting him up to fail. And in turn, the U.S. is being greatly damaged by these deliberate actions. And the world is watching and other countries economies are being damaged as well because U.S. consumers don’t just drive the U.S. economy but that of other countries, tool. Economic blackmail….

          1. Carl says:

            The president has done enough on his own to guarantee failure. He dosnt need anyone elses help in that area.
            The private sector could care less who is president. The fact that Obama has introduced expensive social programs that will be a huge detriment to future growth. Business’ are in the business of protecting themselves. Expecting small business to pay for your Socialist programs is economic blackmail.

            1. Citizen says:

              Your statement, “The private sector could care less who is president.” Really? Is that why corporations were given the same rights as individuals to make campaign contributions by SCOTUS? Is that why there is so much corporate financing of congressional campaigns? Because the private sector doesn’t care? The private sector cares a whole lot–and it does not want President Obama in office any longer and will do whatever it takes for him to fail–up to and including economic blackmail.

              1. Carl says:

                Private citizens are always on the look out for themselves. The local insurance agent is more concerned about how many policies he sells than who is president. The local mortgage banker is more concerned about how many loans he will close over the next year. The local gun shop owner is more concerned with how many guns he can sell.
                Both the mortgage business and gun industry should love Obama. Gun sales are at all time highs and mortgage rates are low due to the dismal economy.
                The everyone is against obama is getting old. The only reason they are against him is that he has over promised and under delivered. somewhat like Jimmy Carter.

            2. frozenrunner says:

              The last statistics I found there was $278,000 in charity care in Minnesota and about equal amount of bad debt. That cost gets passed on to those who do pay. Maybe you don’t have health insurance, but the companies that do are indirectly footing that 1/2 billion a year tab. What is the figure for the state in the last budget for family health care through medical assistance? About 3 billion, give or take a few hundred thousand. In the end which business are protecting themselves and which ones are not. Those that provide insurance to over half the people of the state would have a savings. Surely United health Care could provide cheaper services and services cheaper than medicaid. Get used to it Carl, medicine is socialized until they pass laws that you can deny services. (That is reality Reality Sucks)

              1. Small business owner says:

                The very minute ObamaCare goes into effect, the average business (mostly big since small business will be waived) will dump the employee health care plan (paying a small fee) and have a reimbursement schedule implemented for their employees to buy their own. This will quickly grandfather OUT so that business can get out of the health insurance provider sector. A business does not provide you with auto insurance, why should it provide you with health insurance? I’ve already done this, over the past year, for my employees and they prefer it.

  9. Reality sucks says:

    “Minimum and minimal wage jobs will provide food and maybe rent, but not much else.” Do you think unemployment or governement assistance provides for much else? Are you expecting a quick recover under any Prez? Already posted how the cuts would go down. Do you understand the impact it will have if the cuts aren’t made?

    1. Dale Gribble says:

      Rick Perry will bring jobs and prosperity to White Christians and defend our rights against atheist liberal treason. Take America back from the illegal alien in the White House and stand for Freedom and Liberyt in 2012!!! Vote Perry!

      1. meow says:

        LMAO … White Christians = The New American Minority

        1. Dale Gribble says:

          Laugh now, while you can. When Rick Perry takes the White House, you may not like the changes, comrade.

    2. bud says:

      What else is needed? If you chose to be uneducated, didn’t have time to pick up a book and read it, you shouldn’t have the American dream.

      If you worked your butt off, studied instead of partied or played video games, then yes, you should get more than the losers in this country.

      Reality, you just want people on your handouts so you can control them.

      1. Reality sucks says:

        nope, not me. I’m on your page, not frozenrunners. he’s far to left for me. I was just asking the questions back to him.

        1. frozenrunner says:

          Pointing out the fallacy of cutting taxes to the richest and the corporations will create jobs makes me a leftist so be it. Asking if what you want is a country that only grows minimal wage jobs makes me a leftist? Perhaps there is a far greater group of people out there that can only do that kind of work than I think. The jobs governor Perry crows about are minimal wage jobs. Excuse me for hoping there was someone brighter out there. I guess that would be a leftist thought, too. I have yet to hear how any of these plans have ever created more middle class jobs like the ones that are not there for the college graduates and the educated who are unemployed. When the American middle class has money the economy goes.. Distributing the money upward has not helped the economy.

          1. Reality sucks says:

            You are a seriously misguided democrat. It doesn’t matter how one spells something out or in what context they use/provide the information, you will fight your way back to the left regardless. Maybe it would be best if you just concentrated on your old faithful, Obama for solutions to your pet problems. I will give you a look into the future ball. Thursday, he will discuss adopting and maintaining the great Republican ideals of keeping with the Bush tax cuts and inspiring business to hire through incentives. He’ll skip around and talk about renovating roads, schools and bridges (he’s been talking about this for 2 years so I suppose he’s gotta get someone dirty pretty soon) and begging to continue the extended unemployment benefits. Then he will talk about trade with S. Korea, Columbia, and Panama. Alright, there’s your speech. Do you see a lot of “American lift” or long term solution there? Do you see anything there? This president is done. He doesn’t get it. It’s over his head!

            1. frozenrunner says:

              As less people have insurance more demand will be placed on the safety net hospitals. You can pay for the health care of others through taxes to support medicare or you can pay for it when you eventually need care through what you pay to the health care system.

              1. Reality sucks says:

                so what you’re saying is that we don’t need obamacare since we already have various medical safety nets in place ie: MNcare, medicare, medical assitance of all kinds—-agreed. I doubt thats what you mean–but it is what I mean.

                1. frozenrunner says:

                  You pay one way or another. Look at the budget. Minn has 5 billion for health care. Less insurance will grow that pile higher.
                  Back to the earlier. I have never posted anything about Obama having great ideas. The Republican ideas of tax cutting will create jobs flies in the face of the record profits companies are sitting on. They have money now and are not using it. What is needed is the encouragement to produce intellectual property. Government can’t do that other than by providing education. The US can’t expand agriculture much more, manufacturing can’t compete on a global level. The only thing left to export is brains. IMHO, none of the front runners have an aptitude for creativity. You can claim Obama does not either, but at this point creativity has to come out of the Republican side and it is not happening. Now do you get the point?

                2. Reality sucks says:

                  I always get your point. Couldn’t agree more. I don’t think anyone on any side has anything to bring to fix this mess. What’s done is done. Unfortunate as that may be.

        2. John says:

          frozenrunner would vote for Saddam Hussein as long as he gets his Hussein!!
          No real brain in frozenrunner?

          1. frozenrunner says:

            If Warren Buffet ran for President I might vote for him. In case you missed it Saddam Hussein is dead. He also was not born on US soil thus ineligible to be President anyway. In terms of politics he would have been far right. Did I post something far right and offend you?

            1. Reality sucks says:

              I think you just found your guy postiing under your handle. Go get ’em.

  10. waste says:

    There is so much opportunity in this country that if you are suffering, it is basically your fault.

    Get off the pity wagon and start working to change your situation.

    There are tons of jobs for educated people and also uneducated. The problem is you may have to move to another city or state, you may have to work 8+ hours a day, and you will be required to be a competent hard worker.

  11. John says:

    Ever notice how few people defend the loser Insane now? It’s dwindling fast!!

    1. dan says:

      Help me out John. Are you referring to Obama? If so, you are right on the money.

      1. Jim says:

        He must be referring to Perry, because, you know, that’s what this story is about. The level of Obama derangement among Republicans is amazing. I find it delicious.

      2. John says:

        Barackbottom Insane (or Hussein) Obama. There’s only one insane POTUS in recent history and he stinks. Obama loses even if an inanimate object runs against him. That’s how bad he is!!

  12. Murph says:

    Larry,Moe or Curly would make more sense and damage the country much less!

  13. meow says:

    Obama will have a landslide win…. again. Look at the minorities of this country that have grown to become the majority when you factor in the Democratic vote, the Black, Hispanic, Asian and Jewish votes, plus the Atheist votes (non-religious nut jobs) and the Gay community vote. Majority of women will vote liberal-Democrat also. What does that leave for the GOP? Not much.

    1. Dale Gribble says:

      It will be tough to overcome the traitor vote, it’s true, especially with rampant DemocRAT voter fraud. But The Almighty is on our side and we will save this great land of Liberty and Freedom for White Christians and govern the way the Founding Fathers intended. There will be methods of dealing with those who dissent…

    2. John says:

      Lowest unemployment rate for those groups ever and they vote for that?
      That says everything about the mindset of those groups.

  14. markH says:

    I’m not religious in any way, but I can’t help wondering who Jesus (assuming the man even existed) would vote for? He was conspicuously absent from Perry’s prayer rally…

    1. Reality sucks says:

      If there was a god, and I don’t believe there is, s/he/it would be laughing at this Political bunch with a celestial noise so absurd that the new created sound itself would spawn more laughter.

  15. markH says:

    “But The Almighty is on our side..”

    I think the hijackers of September 11th made the same claim.

    “I find it curious how the invisible and the non-existent look so much alike.”
    ~Christopher Hitchens

    1. Dale Gribble says:

      They were wrong and Satanically inspired. Your blasphemies are un-Amercan and probably treasonous.

      1. Murph says:

        Hate to point this out.But….judging from what has happened so far! God is listening to these criminally insane GOP’ERS AND IS SENDING DOWN HIS WRATH UPON THEM FOR THE SIN OF GREED! Once that sin includes those of enslavement and the killing of the old and sick,as called for in the GOP handbook.What kind of catastrophy are we looking at?Vote for them and be included in the group that GOD LUMPS YOU IN! Personally I don’t really care to be lumped in the group you are in! But if more profits on top of the more than average profits you are already recieving is not enough for you.Then you GOP’ERS JUST GO FOR IT AND TAKE YOUR CHANCES!

        1. Dale Gribble says:

          Typical lunatic DFL tirade of treason. Don’t worry, Murph. Once Perry takes office, there’ll be full amnesty for those who accept Jesus.

          1. huh? says:

            OMG—I can’t believe either of you are allowed to vote!

            1. Dale Gribble says:

              In Murph’s case, only DFL voter fraud allowing criminals, welfare cheats and out-state minority-types to vote makes it possible for him to vote. I exercise the God-given right of White Christians to elect the leaders of this Republic, under God. And my vote goes to Rick Perry, who will save thus great Nation.

              1. huh? says:

                Are you a ward of the state? Do you have a guardian?

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