The PJ Tatler

Word from inside Rick Perry land: 'Nothing has changed'

I obviously picked the wrong day to unplug from the news. The mass resignation of Newt Gingrich’s campaign staff itself changes the race more than a bit, but doesn’t knock him out permanently. John McCain went through a similarly massive shake-up early in his 2008 run and went on to win the nomination.

If Gov. Rick Perry gets into the presidential race it’s obviously a game-changer. Perry is the nation’s most experienced serving governor and he has built up an economic record that’s pretty tough to match. That should count for quite a bit as we deal with the worst national economy of most of our lifetimes. And if Dave Carney and Rob Johnson really have left, at least in part, because they’re moving back to the Perry team to power his run, that puts some of the top talent on the GOP side on the Perry team. They know how to run a campaign. They are very disciplined and very very good at what they do. Gingrich wasn’t able to get any traction in spite of the talent he had assembled around him, mostly because of his own record and gaffes coming out of the starting gate; I doubt Perry will suffer from that same problem. If their 2010 run in Texas is anything to go by, Perry’s team will bedevil President Obama at every turn.

Now, having said all of that, let’s get to the important part. I am hearing, from more than one person inside the Perry orbit, that “nothing has changed.” Meaning, Gov. Perry’s decision not to run for president is still operative.

More: Let me revise that last sentence a bit. Commenter AllenG reminds me that since Perry has moved from “no” to “I’ll think about it,” the latter is the part that hasn’t changed. Fair enough. I’m more interested in the tense of the verb, though — “has.”