Republican Debate Gives Feisty Perry Chance To Recover

Rick Perry put the political obituaries on hold on Tuesday, firing a volley of attacks at Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney in his strongest and most energetic debate performance.

With his poll numbers sliding after a string of poor debates, Perry accused Romney of hypocrisy on immigration and belittled his record on jobs in a feisty and sometimes personal fight that seemed to energize the Texas governor.

Perry was aggressive and sure-footed in laying into Romney, putting the stumbling and sluggish showings of the last two debates behind him.

Perry also attacked surging rival Cain, who has capitalized on Perry’s slide by gaining in polls with conservative support for his “999″ tax plan that would scrap the existing tax code and create a 9 percent income, sales and business tax.

Cain took heavy criticism for his tax plan from all of the candidates, suffering his moment in the political hot seat after largely sliding through earlier debates unchallenged.

“We saw Herman Cain humbled a bit tonight,” Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said. “That could give Perry an opening to recover.”

Read more from John Whitesides at Reuters

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