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Can beleaguered Gov. Rick Perry — once the lone star of the Republican field — dig in his boot heels and survive? As they say in Texas, hed better hustle.

“Political candidates for office need to realize that they are auditioning every single minute for the highest profile, toughest job in the world, and they will make missteps. The key in crisis communications is to minimize the damage done by mistakes. It’s impossible to eliminate them, but the key is simply to minimize any missteps which are made,” Ronn Torossian, CEO of Manhattan public relations agency 5WPR, tells Inside the Beltway.

“Despite amazing publicity of Perry entering the race, his candidacy has been subpar to date where he has raised plenty of questions about whether he’s ready for the big time. Perry simply seems uncomfortable on the stage and is a candidate without direction — not what we want from the president. He needs to recover from this negative image immediately or will very quickly no longer be seen as a viable presidential candidate.

Mr. Torissian’s new book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations,” will be published Tuesday.

POLL DU JOUR

• 80 percent of likely Republican voters say that if he wins the nomination, Mitt Romney is “at least somewhat likely” to beat President Obama in 2012.

• 72 percent say the same of businessmanHerman Cain, 67 percent of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

• 51 percent believe Mr. Romney will eventually win the nomination; 17 percent cite Mr. Cain, 13 percent Mr. Perry.

• 44 percent of tea party voters and 36 percent of evangelical Christians support Mr. Cain.

• 32 percent of both Protestant voters and “non-tea party voters” support Mr. Romney.

• 29 percent of GOP voters overall currently support Mr. Romney, 29 percent support Mr. Cain.

• 10 percent support Newt Gingrich, 9 percent Mr. Perry, 5 percent Rep. Ron Paul.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of likely GOP voters conducted Oct. 12.

Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.