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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Perry: I'm all in for Fla's P5 straw poll



pperry.jpgLeading Republican presidential contenders Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann say they won't risk their top tier perception by participating in the Florida GOP's Presidency 5 straw poll, even though they will spend plenty of time courting Florida activists in the two days leading up to the Sept. 24 mock election in Orlando. But the Rick Perry presidential campaign confirms to the St. Petersburg Times that the Texas governor is all in.


"Gov. Perry is fully committed to participating in P5," said Perry campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan. "The governor is committed to working hard for the vote in Florida. We have the beginnings of a very good organization in Florida and believe the governor's message will win support in Florida."

It's still not clear the extent of Perry's campaigning for the straw poll election - there's talk of breakfast remarks before he flies out of state - but his commitment still is greater than the other major contenders except Ron Paul. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have also committed, so that leaves just Romney and Bachmann as the only major candidates not actively "participating" in the beauty contest of 3,500 GOP activist's in the must-win battleground of Florida.

The timing is especially interesting with Romney eager to cast Perry as antagonistic to Social Security just as the attention turns to senior-rich Florida with Monday's CNN/Tea Party Express debate in Tampa.

"Social Security is unsustainable in its current form.  Most Americans and any honest leader has to admit that," Perry spokesman Sullivan said, dismissing Romney's criticism of Perry's Social Security rhetoric. "The governor sounded the alarm on the need to reform Social Security. He would protect benefits for those currently receiving them and those near retirement but wants a national discussion and review about the changes to the system to make it more stable and financially sound going forward."

[Last modified: Friday, September 9, 2011 6:31am]


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