The Washington Times - October 19, 2011, 09:29PM



The Republican presidential primary debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday almost became personal between Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Knowing his polling could not withstand another debate misstep, Mr. Perry went after the Massachusetts GOP’er saying that Mr. Romney was a hypocrite on immigration, and that Romney has been dishonest about the health care plan established in his state.

Governor Romney attacked Perry on the amount of jobs Mr. Perry claims Texas created, as he fended off attacks from other candidates on his health care plan. 

“Rick Perry had a strategy going into this debate to kill Mitt and he ended up killing himself, and I say that based on the audience reaction,” said Eric Fernstrom,campaign spokesman for the Romney campaign, to reporters following the debate. “I think what they saw in Rick Perry was a very desperate candidate. Someone who is trying to revive a candidacy that is sinking beneath the waves.”

Ray Sullivan, Perry campaign spokesman, though looked at the debate fireworks between both Perry and Romney as par for the course.

“I think Romney did come across as petulant. These debate are set up to be lively. This was a lively one, but the governor [Perry]is passionate about his record and is passionate about calling folks every now and then on their record,” he explained to reporters on Tuesday night. “I suspect this tact will be part of future debates. It will be part of the campaign.”