Texas Gov. Rick Perry only announced his candidacy for president Saturday, yet he has already captured the buzz that surrounds a serious, front-running candidate—the kind of attention that took other GOP 2012 contenders months to work up. Ken Walsh lays out Perry's strengths and his weaknesses. Much of the early assessments of Perry's viability focuses on his claim of guiding the "Texas miracle." According to the Perry camp, since the recession ended, the Lone Star state created more than a third of U.S. jobs while employment dried up around the rest of the country, and he did so without ever raising taxes. [See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP hopefuls.]
Many praise Perry's tenure in Texas. On U.S. News's Thomas Jefferson Street blog, Peter Roff calls Perry a 900 lb. gorilla:
[Perry is] a successful, multi-term governor of a major state, he has a conservative record as a tax cutter and a job creator that stands in stark contrast to the accomplishments, not only of the other Republicans in the race but to President Barack Obama himself.
However The New York Times's Paul Krugman questions the ability of "Perrynomics"—cheap labor and weak regulation—to work on a national level. U.S. News's Rick Newman defends Perry's case, but with one important qualification: "Virtually all of those new jobs are in the government sector, not in private enterprise." That might not sit well with "shrink the government" conservatives.
There are many other potential problems for Perry's 2012 bid, from women's issues to his over-the-top religious gestures to his messy Texas budget. But with unemployment topping voter concerns, Perry's job growth claims will perhaps be the most crucial. What do you think? Can Rick Perry brag about a "Texas Miracle?" Take the poll and leave a comment below.
Previously: Can Romney Beat Bachmann or Perry?