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Debate performances slow Perry's momentum


The following is from the September 23, 2011, edition of The Austin American-Statesman. SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

September 27, 2011

By Jason Embry and Chuck Lindell

ORLANDO, Fla. — Gov. Rick Perry quickly shot to the top of the Republican field after joining the presidential race last month, but his first three debate performances have dispelled any notion that he will easily win the nomination.

After uneven showings in his first two debates, Perry on Thursday gave answers that were inconsistent with previous statements, stumbled over a couple of his prepared attacks and exposed new vulnerabilities when he went off the cuff. Taken on the whole, Perry's three debate showings have caused even friendly audiences to wonder aloud about the man who seemed ready to take the Republican Party by storm. . .

Uneven, lackluster debate performances do little to answer those questions in a positive way for Perry, but a bigger problem might be that "there has not been noticeable improvement over the three debates," said Cal Jillson of Southern Methodist University's Political Science Department.

"People are beginning to wonder if it's just a lack of experience or a lack of preparation and depth of knowledge," Jillson said. "The danger is that opinion might develop that he's just not capable of getting his mind around all the new information."

Read the full story.

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