Opposition researchers usually have to sift through long-forgotten archives to find juicy footage of a candidate so they can use his own words against him, as Judd Legum, Hillary Clinton's research director in 2008, explained to Politico's Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman. But the dirt-diggers working for Rick Perry's rivals will have a much easier time. Perry gave them plenty to work with in his book Fed Up, published last year. One of the passages most ready-made for attack ads is his musing on how Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme" and a "failure," plus its passage required "violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles of federalism and limited government." Mitt Romney's campaign is already gearing up to use it against Perry in Florida, an early primary state packed with old folks.
As Politico notes, Perry once said, "I wouldn't have written that book if I was going to run for the presidency of the United States." Oops. Now what? He can back away from the comments -- as he appeared to do when his spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that the book was "a look back, not a path forward" -- but that risks making him look like a weaselly flip-flopper, as several strategists told Politico.