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On the Road:The Final Push (Pt. 1)

Back on the campaign trail for the next two months.
Photo by Ben Philpott for KUT News
Back on the campaign trail for the next two months.

I'm sitting at gate 18 at Austin's airport waiting for my fight out to Des Moines, Iowa. This trip will take about two weeks. I'll attend two GOP debates, one at Drake University in Des Moines, the other in Sioux City. And follow Gov. Perry on an eight day tour of the state that will include multiple stops and towns each day.

This is the start of the governor's last attempt to get Iowa voters to give him a second chance. Perry will also criss-cross the state immediately after Christmas until caucus day January 3 (That will be "The Final Push Pt. 2).

Based on media coverage this week, Perry may be starting the trip off on the wrong foot. His campaign ad titled "Strong," which disparages gays in the military, has received harsh criticism.

His Facebook page has been swamped with negative statements, many too mean and graphic to repost on this blog.

And he’s turned down a chance to attend a debate with Donald Trump on December 27.

As I was riding a shuttle bus into the airport today, the driver found out what I do and where I was going and asked how the Governor was doing on the campaign trail. I said, based on polls and the firestorm over his recent TV ad, “Not great.”

The driver responded, “You know he just needs to talk about jobs.”

It got me thinking about the governor’s initial jump into this race. He was able to talk about jobs and job creation. About the pride a family and individual gets from working and how Perry said he would "restore" that pride to America.

That message appeared to resonate well with voters. Don’t be surprised is he returns to that message over the next 3 ½ weeks as he tries to turn the ship around. 

He’ll try to do it the old fashioned way: shaking hands and making connections one voter at a time.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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