It does not take a close reading to see where Rick Perry thinks Mitt Romney's weakness lies. Right where pundits have been warning since the beginning of the Republican primary contest: his signing, as Massachusetts governor, of a health care reform law that became a model for the Obama administration's own reform effort.
Perry, whose own friends were comparing him to a "tired puppy" in his recent debate performances, is not holding back an ounce in the new ad, seen below. Extra credit for dramatic, asteroid-coming-into-view soundtrack, Obama/Romney transformation in a shadowy mirror, and, just for good measure, a Jimmy Carter reference. This could be the bunker buster for Perry, the single-shot attack that restores his momentum and upends a Romney campaign that increasingly looks like that of a coasting front-runner.
Update: Two reasons Perry should be slamming Romney on healthcare, under the assumption that Obama's federal reform remains deeply unpopular to Republican primary voters. First, it's even more of a vulnerability in a primary than even some of those who've written on the issue realize. Politico's Ben Smith has posted Romney's official portrait from his days as Massachusetts governor. Look what's sitting just to Romney's left, even closer than the portrait of his wife and the American flag. RomneyCare!
Second, the more Perry can make news about his attacks on Romney, the less he may have to talk about polls like this one. The Texas governor doesn't need New Hampshire to win the primary, necessarily. That could be a good thing, since he's got just four percent support, not even a quarter of the backing that goes to a true longshot (though a surging one), Herman Cain.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.