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Rick Perry Loses Dartmouth Debate, Wins Beta House

2:04 AM, Oct 12, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Less than 12 weeks from the likely date of the Iowa caucuses, Perry's asking questions, but he's still not offering specific answers. Rather than doubling down on entitlement reform--or offering a bold plan to remake the tax code like Herman Cain has proposed--Perry will be putting energy policy at the front and center of his economic plan this week. "I think it's probably going to be the key to the campaign. Because that's what people really care about, getting America working again," Perry told reporters after he left the Beta house. But it's hard to see how Perry will come up with anything that would truly distinguish himself from the rest of the field. While Perry may know more about energy, the issue may also seem a little parochial.  "Texas is big on energy," a reporter said to Perry. "How are you going to expand this beyond energy?"

"Well, you know there are a lot of different sources of energy out there, whether it's clean burning coal, or it's ethanol, or whether it's the bio-mass, you know, solar, obviously, wind energy. All of those are part of a portfolio. Nuclear energy. All of those are part of a portfolio that will get America working again," Perry replied.

Perry is still polling in the teens, just behind Cain and Romney. It's still possible that conservative voters will coalesce behind Perry as the anti-Romney candidate. But over the past few weeks some conservatives have been asking themselves why they should settle for Perry when they can vote for a more conservative and exciting Herman Cain. Perry hasn't given them a good answer yet.

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