Rick Perry, hoping to rescue his faltering presidential bid, unveiled a controversial plan this week to "uproot and overhaul Washington." The Texas governor appears to be so enamored with the plan, which would make Congress a part-time institution, that he challenged House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to debate the idea with him. In a letter to Pelosi obtained by The Hill, Perry argued that a public debate of his plan would be a "tremendous service to the American public," and that Pelosi should abandon her "obstructionist ways" by RSVPing yes. Pelosi responded Thursday on Twitter, suggesting that she was too busy, and mocking Perry's recent inability in a presidential debate to remember all three of the federal departments he wants to shutter. "Monday I'll be in Portland," Pelosi tweeted. "Later visiting labs in CA. That's 2. I can't remember the 3rd thing." Is Perry's strange request anything more than a cry for attention?
This is an obvious stunt: This debate had about as much chance of happening "as President Obama taking on the mayor of Amarillo," says James Oliphant at the Los Angeles Times. Perry's letter is a transparent attempt "to do something big and bold to capture the imagination of Republicans who have been abandoning him." But with Perry's campaign funds drying up and his poll numbers sliding, the only positive for Perry might be sympathy after Pelosi kicked him "when he's down."
"Nancy Pelosi mocks Rick Perry, declines to debate"
And it reflects poorly on Perry: What was Perry thinking? asks Tommy Christopher at Mediaite. If Pelosi agreed to the debate and Perry somehow pulled off the upset of the century, he'd merely have bested "an opponent he's not even running against." If she accepted and won, Perry would look like a pathetic "womp rat." Now that Pelosi's blown him off, "he just looks weak and desperate." The sad thing is, Perry's radical plan may have had some political impact if he hadn't gotten sidetracked by this publicity stunt.
"The Hill reports: Rick Perry challenges Nancy Pelosi to a debate"
Why would he spotlight his poor debate skills? I'm baffled, says Jason Linkins at The Huffington Post. "Perry hasn't exactly distinguished himself as an ace debater." Why would he willingly challenge a high-ranking congresswoman to a potentially disastrous debate — shouldn't he be shying away from them? What a boneheaded move.
"Nancy Pelosi declines Rick Perry's strange debate request"
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