ATLANTA – Steve Forbes, the publishing tycoon and former presidential candidate who’s backing Rick Perry, said the roughly 30 percent of voters still showing undecided in pre-caucus polls could give Perry the kick he needs to carry him past Iowa and into New Hampshire and South Carolina.
And, Forbes said, the onset of actual voter participation could mark an end to the seemingly interminable phase of the campaign when none of the other candidates has been able to scratch Mitt Romney’s frontrunner patina.
“Everyone’s been giving him a bye,” Forbes said when encountered Sunday afternoon at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta.
“[On] taxes and health care, he’s very much out of the mainstream of the Republican Party,” Forbes, a longtime champion of the flat tax, said. Forbes, who campaigned for Perry last week in New Hampshire, has been criticizing Romney’s proposal to abolish capital gains taxes for those earning less than $200,000 a year. Perry wants to do away with all capital gains taxes.
Asked how much time Perry would spend in New Hampshire between Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, where Perry sorely needs a healthy showing, and the Jan. 10 Granite State primary, Forbes indicated Perry would target Romney during a Jan. 7 debate.
“MUR makes a good forum,” Forbes said, referring to ABC’s Manchester affiliate.
Perry's campaign said Saturday he would head directly to South Carolina after Tuesday's Iowa vote.