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Perry On Shaky Ground Attacking Santorum Electability Perry On Shaky Ground Attacking Santorum Electability

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Perry On Shaky Ground Attacking Santorum Electability

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Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry shakes a hand during a campaign stop at the Main Street Cafe in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry lately has been ripping on Rick Santorum's electability credentials, attacking him for losing by 18 points in his 2006 re-election bid.  He did it again on MSNBC's "Daily Rundown" this morning, telling Chuck Todd: "This guy has proven that he can't win races."

But a closer look at the numbers should temper much of Perry's argument.  Santorum actually won a larger percentage of the vote than Perry did in 2006 - and in a Democratic-leaning state, no less. 

That same year, Perry, running in a four-candidate field, only tallied 39 percent of the vote, losing many Republican supporters to the independent candidacy of Carole Keeton Strayhorn.  He nonetheless won re-election, defeating Democratic congressman Chris Bell by nine points, but that masked his high unfavorables that year.  An incumbent governor winning 39 percent of the vote in a ruby-red state isn't exactly something to write home about.

Santorum, for his part, has to deal with his landslide loss - something he's lately been acknowledging more.  He lost by a far larger margin than most losing senators unaffected by scandal, even though it was in a lousy year for Republicans. 

But he also can fairly tout that he's ran ahead of the national party in many past elections, running six points ahead of George W. Bush in 2000 and winning re-election to his House seat with 61 percent of the vote in 1992, in a district that Bill Clinton carried with 52 percent that same year. 

Perry, for his part, can't say the same.

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