The Democratic National Committee's big target is Perry's economic record, which he is using as his main selling point. He says that over the past two years, Texas has created 40 percent of all the new jobs in the United States, which is an impressive credential, given how many Americans are worried about the soaring unemployment rate. [Read: Labor Shoots Holes in Perry's Texas Miracle.]
But, in an indication of how seriously the party takes Perry as a threat, the DNC is trying to frame that record in a very negative way. In a stream of E-mails to reporters and in various media interviews, Democratic officials have released the following bill of particulars against Perry, who has vaulted into the lead as the front runner for the Republican nomination:
- "Perry has left middle class families behind," says a DNC spokeswoman. "Texas is tied among states for the share of minimum-wage workers." The DNC cites a Census Bureau report that 9.5 percent of the Texas workforce is paid at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour--a tie with Mississippi for the largest share of minimum-wage workers in the country.
- From 2000 to 2009, Texas dropped from 30th to 47th in median household income. The median household income in Texas in 2009 was $47,143. Nationally, it averaged $50,618.
- Texas has the highest rate of uninsured workers in the country at 27.4 percent.
Democratic strategists say this is only the beginning of the party's attack on Perry's economic stewardship.
In addition, the Democratic party in Perry's home state is doing its part to define him in a negative way. As Dave Montgomery reports in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "A website sponsored by the Texas Democratic Party invites viewers to 'meet the real Rick Perry' by examining such categories as 'top 10 failures' and 'leadership scandals.' And President Barack Obama's Texas campaign director is seeking personal testimonials from Texans to help expose the governor's 'actual record' to American voters." [Read: Can Rick Perry Claim a Texas 'Jobs Miracle'?]
Hector Nieto, Texas director of Obama for America, said in E-mail to the president's Texas supporters, "It's up to us to make sure he doesn't get to run away from the truth." See Dave Montgomery's post here.
- Check out political cartoons about the economy.
- See who's running in the 2012 GOP field.
- Check out editorial cartoons about the 2012 Republican contenders.