POLITICS
08/24/2011 06:18 pm ET Updated Oct 24, 2011

Late Returns: Rick Perry Drinks Mitt Romney's Milkshake

Sweet sassy molassey, this latest Gallup poll hews so closely to the media narrative that preceded it that I fully expect it to be under glass at the Newseum within the hour! Let's see, Rick Perry is fully ascended into the frontrunner spot, twelve fancy points ahead of Mitt Romney. Perry is up 11 points since July. The fearful symmetry? Romney's down six, Bachmann is off three, Pawlenty's 3 percent gets zeroed out. Also losing ground: Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman. Rick Santorum enjoyed a modest one point uptick. And, if you are playing the "Ron Paul's Underreported Presidential Campaign Home Game," please note that Paul's the only other gainer in double-digit candidate tier -- he's up three points to 13 percent.

Seventeen percent of respondents continue to express no preference, allowing Bill Kristol some options as far as stimulating the political button sector of the U.S. economy. Last week, the Romney campaign was pursuing its "Don't Panic" strategy, and I'd imagine they are content to continue to not worry so much about this immediate Rick Perry boomlet. As Fred Thompson might say of the high-speed ride to the top of the polls, "Been there, done that, now I'm pimping reverse mortgages on daytime cable teevee."

Maybe Michele Bachmann has peaked? Oh well, that means that the media no longer needs to be concerned about that time a major national party had a credible presidential candidate who openly advocated for default.

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The Nevada special election to replace Dean Heller inspires some classic Jon Ralston: "After moderating an hourlong debate this week and witnessing the nonsense emanating from the campaigns as the election draws nigh, I can honestly say this is one of the more embarrassing spectacles in Nevada campaign history." That's saying something! After all, many of the more embarrassing spectacles in Nevada campaign history involved Jim Gibbons. [Las Vegas Sun]

"I would say that smearing your opponent is the last refuge of a failed ideology," says Newt Gingrich, professional opponent-smearer. [Washington Whispers]

Rick Perry, cold signin' some pledges. [The Washington Times]

Mitt Romney is bowing out of a Jim DeMint event in South Carolina. "Perry is a likely favorite" in the South Carolina primary, according to Maggie Haberman. So that New Hampshire stronghold is looking more and more crucial to Mitt. [Politico]

Alex Pareene considers the upside and downside of a Ron Paul presidency. Pluses include "no pointless, expensive, bloody, illegal foreign engagements," no "illegal wiretapping" and financial institutions "would no longer receive endless supplies of secret money from the government, probably." On the other hand, "I cannot really imagine any sort of economic recovery happening during a Paul presidency." [War Room @ Salon]

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