Perry gaffe-free, Paul campaign alleges blackout in latest GOP debate



Bio | Email | Follow: @MarkW_KVUE

Posted on November 14, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 14 at 7:42 PM

AUSTIN -- After the debate gaffe that went viral, all eyes were on Texas Governor Rick Perry when he returned to the debate stage over the weekend.

The crew at "Saturday Night Live" took aim at Perry in the show's cold open Saturday, with Perry himself making joking allusions to the incident during the CBS News debate in South Carolina.

Saturday's foreign policy-themed debate was free of any headline-grabbing flubs.

"The foreign aid budget in my administration for every country is going to start at zero dollars," a more serious Perry responded to a question about aid to foreign countries.

University of Texas Mack Brown Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs Jeremi Suri said Perry's performance was an improvement.

"He did a better job than he had done before; he was no worse than the other candidates, but he didn't shine," said Suri, adding that no single candidate seemed to make any significant strides Saturday.

The debate wasn't without controversy.

Known for his outspoken stance against U.S. military involvement overseas, Texas Congressman Ron Paul was relegated to 90 seconds of airtime in the hour and a half debate. During the televised portion, moderators asked Paul one question and one followup.

"We have a bad foreign policy," Paul said in response to a question about military action in Iran. "We're pretending we're at war. We haven't declared the war, but we're at war."

Following the debate, Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chair Jesse Benton released a statement reproaching CBS for the perceived slight.

"If we are to have an authentic national conversation on issues such as security and defense, we can and must do better to ensure that all voices are heard," Benton wrote.

Lakeway attorney and Ron Paul supporter Jerri Lynn Ward questioned why CBS would seem to want to marginalize Paul.

"A man who's written a book on foreign affairs, who's very knowledgeable about foreign affairs, and who also had a very different message than the other candidates, at the very least it should have made for good TV," said Ward.

Michele Bachmann's campaign expressed similar outrage.

Campaign manager Keith Nahigian posted an e-mail on the campaign Facebook page that appeared to be from new CBS political director John Dickerson. Sent before the debate, the message stated that Bachmann was "not going to get many questions."

New polls out Monday show Newt Gingrich continuing to gain popularity just as Herman Cain seems to be losing ground among national voters.

A poll by CNN shows Gingrich trailing Romney 22 percent to 24 percent. Cain is in third place with 14 percent support, slightly ahead of Rick Perry with 12 percent. Ron Paul rounds out the top five with eight percent.

A survey by Public Policy Polling shows Gingrich leading Herman Cain 28 percent to 25 percent. With 18 percent support, Mitt Romney is the only other candidate in the double digits. Perry, Bachmann and Paul follow in a close rase for statistical fourth.