It may surprise you, but there was a time Rick Perry was supposed to be the jobs candidate. Remember the Texas Miracle?
Anyway, those days are long gone. As the clock ticks down to the Iowa caucuses, Rick Perry has been leaning, hard, on the social stuff, leaving the Texas Miracle (as well as the talk about Social Security being a Ponzi scheme) in the dust.
In his latest grab for the social conservative voters that are so important in Iowa, Perry — strictly pro-life for years — found a way to move to the right on abortion.
Now he’s an extremist when it comes to the topic. Perry told an audience in Iowa Tuesday night that he’s undergoing a “transformation” on abortion, which means he no longer believes it should be allowed in the cases of rape and incest.
Here’s video of that moment from ABC:
Perry told the audience his shift to the right on abortion came after he spoke to a woman who was conceived when her mother was raped. On MSNBC Wednesday, Perry spokesperson Ray Sullivan denied his candidate is pandering.
“He’s always been pro-life and always will be,” Sullivan said. “He’s not gone back and forth like these other candidates in the race.”
But the shift on abortion fits a general pattern for Perry that began when the final push for Iowa began in earnest. First came the TV ad attacking Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Then came the Faith, Jobs and Freedom bus tour through Iowa. (Note how “jobs” came second.)
On Tuesday, Perry decided to strap his campaign to current federal-investigation target Sheriff Joe Arpaio one final time before caucus day. So the abortion thing was the latest step in a slow motion lurch toward Iowa’s evangelical right.
Is it working? Results are mixed.
On the one hand, Perry’s poll numbers have risen slightly as he shifted focus to the social stuff on Iowa:
But on the other hand, Iowa’s influential evangelical leaders decided to back Rick Santorum, who’s more of a longshot for the nomination than Perry (and that’s saying something.)