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Romney, Bachmann, Perry: The Shape Of The GOP Field

Texas governor Rick Perry enters the GOP fray. We’ll look at how the Republican field of presidential contenders is shaping up.

Republican presidential candidates including Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, and Jon Huntsman walk on stage for a photo before the start of the Iowa GOP/Fox News Debate in Ames, Iowa. (AP)

Republican presidential candidates including Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, and Jon Huntsman walk on stage for a photo before the start of the Iowa GOP/Fox News Debate in Ames, Iowa. (AP)

It was a clarifying weekend in Republican presidential campaign politics, though by no means a conclusive one. Michele Bachmann nosed out Ron Paul to win the Iowa straw poll. Tim Pawlenty dropped out. Mitt Romney rolled on.

And Mr. Texas, Rick Perry –- “the conservative id made flesh,” wrote one conservative commentator — jumped in. Republicans are talking about Barack Obama as the weakest incumbent since Jimmy Carter. He’s certainly playing a rough hand. But what –- who -– will the GOP bring to the fight?

This hour On Point: the new GOP pack, and leaders, after Ames, Iowa.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jonathan Martin, senior political reporter Politico

Paul Burka, senior executive editor at Texas Monthly

Kellyanne Conway, Republican pollster

Bob Shrum, a senior fellow at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, he was senior advisor to the Kerry-Edwards campaign in 2004

From Tom’s Reading List

The Week: “Barack Obama is being blamed right, left, and center — by almost everyone for one thing or another — including the credit downgrade, the market crash, a slouching economy, and the miasma of the Washington swamp. Critics and erstwhile admirers grumble among themselves — and, mostly anonymously, to the press. Columnists once ready to cheer Obama’s rise now jeer his timid, professorial leadership; Maureen Dowd ridicules him as the “Withholder in Chief.””

The National Review Online: “In filing her papers, Bachmann became the first serious female U.S. presidential candidate who is neither a career politician nor married to one. She has an everywoman appeal that connects her to millions of Americans; she is accessible, authentic, and affable. She is passionate but not angry; intelligent but plain-spoken. Like many women, she came to her beliefs through a series of events and over a number of years. She has been a Democrat, a Republican, a tax attorney, a businesswoman, a mother of five, and a foster mother to 23 others.”

Texas Monthly: “So please, heed this advice. Rick Perry, as you have no doubt already discovered, is not the easiest man to write about. He is secretive and leery of the media (sometimes to the point of hostility), and he has a strategically valuable knack for being underestimated by his critics. I have been writing about him since the eighties, when he began his career in the Texas Legislature. Along the way I have learned a few things, which I have arranged in this handy list of Eight Points to Keep in Mind When Writing About Rick Perry.”

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