Jon Ward at the Huffington Post talks to advisers close to Mitt Romney about the campaign's thinking of its chief rival, Rick Perry. Beyond subtle criticisms, like referring to Perry as a "career politician," the Romney campaign apparently thinks the Texas governor's worst enemy could be himself:

Romney advisers also want to give Perry plenty of rope with which to hang himself in the three debates coming in September. The Romney camp believes that Perry's penchant for talking off the cuff could cause a meltdown, so they see no need to rush toward a confrontation.

"We went through Hurricane Palin and Hurricane Huckabee and Hurricane Trump," the Romney adviser said, referring to the bright light celebrity names that stoked interest earlier this year: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and businessman Donald Trump.

Referring to Perry, the adviser said: "This is just one more hurricane, but I think we're at the end of hurricane season."

The difference is that of all those "hurricanes," Rick Perry is the only one actually running, and the national polls--as well as the polls in Iowa and South Carolina--are showing him ahead of Romney.

Update: It looks like Romney will be participating in Jim DeMint's Labor Day forum in South Carolina after all.

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