Perry Falls ‘Flat’ With Republicans In Bedford, N.H.

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry, with son Griffin, right, attend the Politics and Eggs Breakfast Wednesday in Bedford, N.H. (AP)

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry, with son Griffin, right, attend the Politics and Eggs Breakfast Wednesday in Bedford, N.H. (AP)

BEDFORD, N.H. — Texas Gov. Rick Perry is back in New Hampshire — his second visit in less than a week. But several people — both moderate Republicans and Tea Partiers — who turned out to hear Perry Wednesday were disappointed.

In Bedford Wednesday morning, Perry told people that he plans to spend some time campaigning in New Hampshire. “I’m gonna be here a lot,” he said.

New Hampshire is the state former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is counting on to propel him to the Republican nomination. He’s leading in the polls there.

When Perry says he’s “going to be here a lot,” he’s saying he’s not just going to go after evangelical voters in Iowa and southern voters. He’s going to go after a very different kind of Republican.

The Moderate Test

“The New Hampshire Republicans are moderate Republicans,” said Andy Smith, the director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. “Conservative on fiscal issues and tax issues and size of government issues, but on social issues, very much moderate to liberal.”

Perry was a big success with conservative Republican activists at a house party in Greenland on Saturday. But Wednesday morning’s event was Perry’s first test with moderate Republicans.

Politics & Eggs is practically a required stop on the New Hampshire campaign trail, and Perry clearly has people curious about him. He drew the biggest crowd since George W. Bush in 1999.

And they asked him a lot of questions, like what he would do to preserve generous pensions for the military. Here’s how he didn’t answer that question:

Well, I don’t want to get too deep in the weeds on this, but the fact that I am a veteran. Anita and I, we chose the Wounded Warrior Project to be the recipient of our inaugural proceeds that we had. We work not only in a public way but also in a private way to support those young men and women who are coming home, some who have been deployed four and five times…

“I thought it was flat,” Smith said of Perry’s performance.

OK, so Andy Smith didn’t give Perry a rave review.

But neither did some of the Republicans in the audience.

Laura Condon’s son is a Marine headed to Afghanistan. She has strong sympathies for the Tea Party, and she wanted to hear Perry say he would support continuing pensions for veterans, and she thought his answer was vague on that issue.

“I’m not impressed with him,” Condon said. “In New Hampshire, I think folks here were really excited to hear about Gov. Perry. We admire a lot of things that go on in Texas, his job growth there. We were looking for something really good from him, and the fact that he gave a lot of non-answers really does concern me. I know he came in the race late, but I don’t think he’s quite geared up, because he doesn’t have answers to our questions.”

Candidate Options

Condon says she’s liking Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann more and more.

Karen Testerman was one of the Republican candidates for governor here last year. She says some people are already writing Romney off now that Perry has entered the race.

“But I don’t think so,” she said. “I think that Mitt is completely competitive.”

Testerman does not think Perry helped himself with his appearance Wednesday morning.

“Rick Perry is claiming to have done all this great job creation,” Testerman said. “They’ve been a right-to-work state since 1993. They have very friendly business policies in that state, so I don’t think he can credit himself with it. ”

Tough crowd.

In New Hampshire at this point, it sounds like it’s a three-way race between Perry, Bachmann and Romney.

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  • Lichtenf

    Rick Perry’s Texas miracle came about through a range of enticements we more commonly associate with Third World nations — low wages, no benefits, high rates of poverty, scant taxes, few regulations and generous corporate subsidies — the state has produced its own “giant sucking sound,” attracting businesses from other states to a place where workers come cheap.
    Consider the Texas that Perry holds up to the rest of the nation for admiration. It has the fourth-highest poverty rate of any state. It tied with Mississippi last year for the highest percentage of workers in minimum-wage jobs. It ranks first in adults without high school diplomas. Twenty-six percent of Texans have no health insurance — the highest percentage of medically uninsured residents of any state. It leads the nation in the percentage of children who lack medical insurance. Texas has an inordinate number of employers who provide no insurance to their workers, partly because insurance rates are high, thanks to an absence of regulations.

    • http://twitter.com/Vmod32 Keith

      @51fd88e38fac85e69022787e4e3fe03d:disqus You are absolutely right. It’s truly sad how religious people are manipulated into electing these people.

  • Joealbiani

    Perry is just like George W. proud to preside over more executions than all other states combined. When there was evidence a man convicted of the killing of his 3 children by fire was innocent, when there was strong evidence the fire was accidental, Perry would not stop the execution because in that state it would be a sign of weakness! That is all I need to know about another Texas barbarian.

  • Dave

    A three-way race?   What about Ron Paul?   He did nearly as well as Bachmann in the Iowa straw poll, and yet he’s been written off by the press.

    • Joealbiani

      Ron Paul is in the wrong party and can never get a nomination from those neanderthals.

  • KristyG

    Perry is a bit too zealous for me.  I’m an independent with conservative leanings but he is WAY over the top, as is Michele Bachmann.  There ARE reasonable conservatives out there… they just aren’t getting any press, nor do they seem to be able to get a solid foothold against the Bible-thumping ultra-conservatives that are getting all the face time.  Like all politicians, they say stuff, then contradict themselves time and again.  But there are a LOT of contradictions in Perry’s closet.  My preference is that his campaign self-destructs in a short period of time.

    • Frank Rudolph

      I completely agree. With respect to Republicans and NH, I have two words for you, period.

      Ron Paul. There are no others in the Republican pack that have broad appeal here in NH. It’s a pity he is not better liked among the party operatives. He would, in the current economic and political scene, be electable. I pray that none of the others are, because I do not want to live in a nation controlled by the likes of them. W taught me that lesson in stark terms. If only the operatives would wake up from the 30 year long nightmare of bible-thumping control of the GOP.

    • NewHampshire

      Zealous? YOu mean like promising Vincente FOX open borders, transnational health insurance and instate tuition for illegals? LOL you people were easily fooled.

  • Observer

    I think NH and MA voters are the smartest in the nation… they can smell a fake miles away. I love it!

  • Rachel

    I don’t understand how these supposed liberal leaning on social issues Republicans can even consider Bachmann.   She’s as far right on social issues as you can get.  I don’t want her anywhere near the White House.  She’s an unintelligent, lying, hypocrite.     Even Ron Paul is taking the far right approach on social issues.   He’s all for government being all up in our uteri.  

    • KristyG

      Sarah Palin was a HUGE reason I voted for Obama in 2008.  If the likes of Bachmann or Perry are his opposition come election time, I’m not going to have much choice. :/

      • http://twitter.com/Vmod32 Keith

        I feel the same way. I very much like the republican fiscal stances, but there is no way in hell I’m voting for any bible thumping, gay bashing, abortion freak conservative like Bachmann. They really need to separate church and state. There is freedom of religion in this country, but not freedom FROM religion. 

    • NewHampshire

      WRong.. I’ve never seen such ill informed voters.. must be listening to that moron Judson Phillips.

  • http://www.wbur.org/people/fthys Fred Thys

    Dave, you bring up a good point about Ron Paul. It’s just my sense from talking to Republicans and independents in New Hampshire that right now, the three candidates people are talking the most about are Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney. According to the latest UNH poll, Romney leads, with Bachmann the only other candidate breaking into double digits. That poll was conducted before Perry’s entry into the race.

  • NewHampshire

    Funny the not so great politicos at WMUR didn’t call it… when it was a two – way between the fools who think Romney is conservative and the REAL conservatives, 24% of them who KNOW Ron Paul is the only one and very prophetic now that all he warned about is coming true.

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