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2012: Perry's Saturday in NH and SC

BACHMANN: The Des Moines Register: “Critics said that day of campaigning represents her political style in a nutshell: She fires up the masses by playing the outsider, issuing a savvy and fine-tuned rallying cry that bashes the establishment and slams hot-button topics, while offering few credible solutions that might dilute her rhetoric. Supporters contend her outsider role is precisely her strength.”

Bachmann last night on FOX, per The Hill: "If I were president today, I would call all the members of Congress back into Washington, D.C., and I'd say this, 'Look, we are going to get this AAA credit rating back, and this is what we're going to do.” She said she “would direct lawmakers to develop a plan to prevent default on U.S. debt, guarantee payments to members of the military, and guarantee seniors' current payments from Social Security and Medicare while reshaping those entitlement programs for future retirees.”

Just asking, but where was that sense of urgency when the Tea Party was no compromise all the time during the debt ceiling debate and default and downgrade was threatened.

CAIN: “Herman Cain's upstart presidential campaign might be based out of Atlanta, but the team guiding him has closer geographical ties to Atlanta, Wis., than the capital of Georgia,” Roll Call’s Drucker writes. “The Cain campaign was reluctant to discuss staff and consultant hires last week, on the eve of Iowa's Ames straw poll. But a review of the Georgia businessman's second-quarter Federal Election Commission report — along with some cooperation from his campaign — has revealed a cadre of senior aides heavy on Wisconsin roots and light on presidential experience. Cain, in a nod to his business background, has given all campaign staff corporate job titles.”

HUNTSMAN: Tom Ingram, a former longtime aide to Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, will be formally joining the Huntsman campaign as a senior advisor, a campaign official tells First Read. He had been an informal adviser for a while, but now is being brought on officially. Previously, he consulted on the Bob Corker and Alexander campaigns for the Senate, as well as Bill Haslam for governor of Tennessee.

PERRY: “Leaning toward a full-fledged presidential run, Governor Rick Perry of Texas will visit at least two early-primary states - South Carolina and New Hampshire - on Saturday, at the same time most of his would-be opponents are competing in an important test vote in Iowa,” the AP writes.

The Austin-American Statesman on Perry's Saturday announcement: "Though a formal campaign announcement is not expected until next week at the earliest, Perry's Saturday speech at the RedState Gathering of conservative leaders will set the stage for his White House bid, said sources close to Perry who were not authorized to speak for the campaign. "There's not going to be much nuance," one source said."

“Texas Gov. Rick Perry is lining up campaign advisers in key GOP presidential primary states, including Katon Dawson and Walter Whetsell, who previously advised Newt Gingrich in South Carolina,” Roll Call reports.

The Texas Tribune writes that a tax law signed by Perry in 2006 is facing a constitutional challenge in the Texas Supreme Court. "If the allegations aren't quickly tossed out by the all-Republican court, Perry could be forced to deal with a thorny tax issue just as he’s trying to win a presidential nominating contest. And the Legislature would be faced with a big new revenue shortfall if it's declared unconstitutional."

There's yet another new Super PAC led by Perry backers. Speaking of fundraising, Perry has a big-dollar event planned tonight for his STATE campaign account. That money isn't transferrable to a presidential account.

A Star Ledger (Newark, NJ) opinion piece wonders if Perry has alienated Catholics and what that could mean for a presidential run.

National Review looks at the unlikely "bromance" of Perry and New York's Rudy Giuliani.

ROMNEY: Was this a minor shot at Rick Perry? “You know there was a poll, I guess it was about a month ago, that was a little surprising,” Romney said, per the New York Times. “It had me as the only Republican candidate who in Texas could beat President Obama. I think I was ahead by eight points.”

Peter Stone looks at Romney bundler John Paulson: “A big bundler for Romney’s campaign, Paulson—who made billions betting on the decline of the housing bubble—is emblematic of how wealthy individuals often wear two fundraising hats in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling last year. That decision gave the green light for donors (including corporations and unions) to give unlimited sums to independent groups that advocate expressly for candidates. Paulson’s fundraising is one of a few instances where the fundraising operations of the campaign and the Super PAC appear to overlap and may benefit each other.”

Romney delved into how he would change Social Security at a stop in New Hampshire. The Boston Globe: “To protect benefits of younger workers, Romney cited three options to cut Social Security costs. First, raising the retirement age, currently 67 for those born after 1960. Second, creating a ‘means test,’ which would add need as a factor into the money retirees receive. Third, calculating payments using the consumer price index, rather than the wage index.  Raising taxes was not an option, he said. In what would be a major change in the national health reform law of 2010, Romney said he would return funding and control of Medicaid, the government’s healthcare plan for the poor, to the states.”