Ford O’Connell At Reuters On Potential GOP Presidential Tilt Between Mitt Romney And Rick Perry

Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney has been on a glide path toward the 2012 primary elections, serving up a steady diet of soundbites and campaign material attacking President Barack Obama on jobs and the economy.

The easy ride will end if Texas governor Rick Perry jumps into the Republican race — especially since Perry has the strong record on job creation that Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, claims for himself.

While still untested, Perry is said to have cross-over appeal among Republican voters — from social conservatives and the small government Tea Party to the mainstream business element — that Romney lacks.

“Mitt Romney is running with blinders on. Perry could force him to pivot. Should all things go right for him, Rick Perry is Romney’s biggest threat,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell, chairman of the CivicForum PAC.

“Perry is a fighter, and a lot of people want to be enthusiastic about someone — not just an Obama alternative,” said O’Connell. “Perry is the best campaigner we have.”

“Name recognition is still an issue for Perry, but when you can just keep touting that jobs record, the name recognition will follow,” said O’Connell.

Read more from Ros Krasny at Reuters

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