Rick Perry And Herman Cain Embrace Less-Is-More Campaign Philosophy
WASHINGTON -- If modern political theory holds that how a candidate runs a presidential campaign is the great indicator of how he or she will perform in office, the 2012 Republican primary may be giving voters pause.
Other than Mitt Romney, each White House aspirant has experienced fits and starts, momentary triumphs and embarrassing stumbles. And in response to the grind, at least two have chosen simply to limit their time under the klieg lights.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is reportedly entertaining the idea of not participating in additional debates. His campaign has suggested (not unreasonably) that there are too many of them. But the true impetus seems to be how badly Perry has performed in earlier forums. While a formal decision hasn't been made, the rest of the Republican field is already citing it as evidence that Perry is unfit for the job of GOP presidential nominee.
"I don't see how somebody can say that they can't debate Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul, but they'll be ready to debate Barack Obama," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. "I think Governor Perry would find it an enormous mistake to not go to the debate, and I think that frankly he'd look pretty silly."
Joining Perry in the less-is-more campaign philosophy is Herman Cain. The former Godfather's Pizza CEO has stumbled a bit under the scrutiny that comes to a newly anointed frontrunner. In response to it all, he is now apparently set to spend less time on the trail.
"We're trying to slow down a little bit, make sure he's rested, make sure he's focused," J.D. Gordon, the Cain campaign's vice president for communications, told the Daily Beast. The goal is to achieve a "more deliberate pace ... so we don't make those kinds of mistakes."
In other words, as The Hill put it: "Cain to slow campaign pace to avoid gaffes."
Under the usual construct of presidential campaigns, Cain's decision to limit his exposure would hurt him in the polls. New Hampshire voters, in particular, cherish the opportunity to meet candidates individually. But retail politics has never been part of the Cain presidential run (he was speaking in Alabama just this week). And so far that choice hasn't managed to hurt him in the polls.