- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 11, 2012

THE BIG BOYS

“Bare-knuckle politics. Now it matters. Bring your big-boy pants.”

- Advice to the Republican presidential hopefuls on successful campaigning in South Carolina, from Chip Felkel, a leading Republican strategist in Greenville

THE HE-MAN BOUNCE

Yee-haw. Texas Gov. Rick Perry may have an edge in a state where bare-knuckle politics are a given. He’s right at home. One look at his campaign stops in South Carolina reveal all. In the next week, Mr. Perry will frequent barbecue joints, gun shops, Southern-style eateries, municipal halls. Mr. Perry is in hearty he-man mode, making the most of his down-home, Lone Star cachet, a factor that could lend him a measurable bounce with Palmetto State voters when primary day dawns. He may not play so well in Peoria, but Columbia?

“He’s got a real good crowd today. They’re receptive to him, they like him,” says a spokesman for Doc’s Barbeque in the state’s capital, where Mr. Perry hosted a midday meet-and-greet-and-eat on Wednesday with an eager, hungry crowd. And no wonder. On Doc’s menu: pepper vinegar pulled pork sandwiches, banana pudding and such side dishes as black-eyed peas, okra and tomatoes, catfish stew, corn casserole and bread-and-butter pickles.

And while Mr. Perry is eagerly defining himself as the consummate man of the people, his credibility as a military veteran in the Republican field is now coming into play with a campaign spot showcasing loyal vets who vouch for the former U.S. Air Force pilot’s presidential prowess.

“The decorated military veterans in this TV ad speak strongly for Gov. Perry’s character, faith and leadership. These vets know Rick Perry’s pro-American, pro-job and pro-veteran record,” says campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan. “He is the one true Washington outsider left in this race.”

NEWT’S ULTIMATUM

“We can either nominate a timid Massachusetts moderate Republican to take on a secular socialist who threatens to turn us into a nation like the decrepit republics of Western Europe, or we can nominate a bold Reagan conservative who will take the fight to Barack Obama in the fall. There’s no more time for talking about stopping Mitt Romney.”

- Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, in a new campaign command to his supporters

ROMNEY’S ULTIMATUM

“Go back to work. Two states have made their voices heard. Forty-eight more are anxiously waiting.”

- Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, in a new campaign command to his supporters

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