Rick Perry Loves Stealing Other People's Limelight
By Elspeth Reeve
When Rick Perry announced he was running for president the very same day Michele Bachmann won the Ames straw poll in Iowa -- and then proceeded to chat up Republicans in her hometown of Waterloo -- some saw it as a genius move. Others saw it as a dick move. But it looks like Perry has a record of stomping all over everyone else's dress on her big day. In 2008, the Texan literally grabbed Sarah Palin by the arm and yanked her out of the spotlight.
The Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan highlights this video from a Republican Governors Association press conference just after the 2008 election. At the time, as John Scotus explains, the event would have offered Palin "first chance to defend herself" apart from the McCain campaign. But the other governors -- seven in attendence are or were at one time 2012 presidential candidates -- didn't want to let Palin soak up all the press.
At the time, Human Events' Jack Thompson explained that though the conference had been billed as Palin-centric, with 20 minutes of questioning for the Alaskan, just two hours before the event began, it was changed to allow just 5 minutes of Palin time.
Eight other governors assembled on the stage, all men, seemed visibly uncomfortable with the "Palin at center stage" format. When Perry stepped in front of Palin at the podium to announce it was over just as it was getting started, Palin looked irritated, and the media shouted, "You’ve got to be kidding," "This is ridiculous," "Come on," and "We were promised more questions."
...Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard may have given the reason why Palin was reined in: envy. Said Kristol, "This is not the Republican Governors Association. This is really the Republican Presidential Candidates Association."
It's also possible he was trying to do damage control, as the questions for Palin had gotten pretty aggressive. Or maybe the RGA just didn't want Palin as it's chief spokeswoman. A Republican official told CNN that Perry cut Palin off simply because "We were running behind schedule." You decide, though. Here's video of the incident...
... but the stills really tell the story. First, Perry just looks displeased stuck in the corner of the camera frame (or is it comradely solidarity in response to reporters' pestering? Or gentlemanly concern for the lady at the podium?):
Then he gives Palin a warning nudge with his arm:
Then Perry pushes her back from the podium, telling reporters testily, "Let's have one more question. What do you want?"
Perry then literally pulls Palin by the arm back to the podium to answer another question. As Ursula says in The Little Mermaid, "Don't underestimate the importance of body language! Ha!"
Finally Perry swoops back in. It's the boys' time to shine.
When Mitt Romney announced he was getting an endorsement from former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Perry immediately one-upped him with his own endorsement from the current Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Pretty cool, but we'd really love to see Perry pull this move with Romney in person.