Foes of Rick Perry have tried for years to find dirt on the Texas governor, running down rumors he's gay or has messed around, and they have come up empty handed so often that some are urging the national Democrats to find another avenue to hit the surging GOP presidential candidate on.
Just this week, political gadfly, critic, and Ron Paul backer Robert Morrow ran an ad in a Texas weekly newspaper seeking "stripper...escort...or 'young hottie' " who had been with Perry. The headline on the ad, splashed around the Internet: "Have You Ever Had Sex With Rick Perry?" [See a slideshow of who's in and who's out in 2012.]
Such searches are a "waste of time," says one Democratic operative who's been involved in previous efforts to build an opposition research file on the Republican. "Perry has been vetted to the max. And the press in Texas is no pussycat. They looked into everything too and found nothing," added the operative.
In fact, the state research into Perry, who's been Texas's longest-serving governor ever, has gotten so silly, say supporters, that now some are looking into whether he ever went to strip bars in the 1980s. [See photos of the GOP hopefuls on the campaign trail.]
"The fact is that there is just no evidence of these moral problems," says the operative.
That hasn't stopped Morrow and others who are trying to stir the pot against Perry, an evangelical who likes to talk about religion publicly. Just check out Morrow's provocative ad.