Debate a Lousy Night for Perry
Texas not looking ready for prime time, pundits say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2011 5:00 AM CDT
Updated Sep 23, 2011 7:28 AM CDT
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry makes a statement in the Fox News/Google GOP debate at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando last night.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – After the third Republican debate in three weeks, one thing is becoming clear: Mitt Romney is pretty good at debating. Most pundits see Romney as the winner of last night's Fox News/Google debate, and believe fellow front-runner Rick Perry's performance should worry his campaign. The Texas governor "seemed ill-prepared, couldn’t land his punches, and he again sagged visibly toward the end, struggling even through a canned slap at Mitt Romney’s flip-flops," writes Maggie Haberman at Politico.

Romney avoided tough questions on health care, "which amounts to a victory for him," decides Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum also a had a good night, but Perry seemed like "a guy who might not be ready for primetime," and Michele Bachmann is still searching for a second act, he writes. Perry seemed "adrift" and "incoherent," according to Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Beast. The Texan appears unprepared to either take on Obama or become the Tea Party's chosen candidate, while "Romney is cleaning up. And Palin is grinning somewhere," he concludes.