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2012: Perry leads Romney in another poll

Rick Perry leads Mitt Romney in another poll, this one USA Today/Gallup – 31%-24%. Ron Paul’s the only other candidate in double digits with 13%. Michele Bachmann has dropped all the way to 5%. Romney’s electability argument could be helped by the poll. It shows him beating Obama 49%-47%, but Perry down 5 to the president and with Obama at 50%, 50%-45%.

GOP presidential candidates predictably don’t like Obama’s plan.

BACHMANN: Bachmann wraps her two-day swing through Iowa Tuesday, visiting a factory in Des Moines, NBC’s Jamie Novogrod reports. Her economy-focused visit brought her to factories in North-Central Iowa Monday, and her hometown of Waterloo.

Bachmann said of Obama’s deficit-reduction plan, per NBC’s Alex Moe: "I wish I could say that I supported that speech because I don't like to be contrary just for the sake of being contrary," Bachmann said to the handful of O.M.J.C. Signal, Inc. employees in attendance. Earlier at Sukup Manufacturing in Sheffield, she said the president's plan was more "stimulus" and that it would "ruin the United States economy."

The Caucus blog on the New York Times website writes that “advisers over at the Bachmann campaign can’t be too happy” about Ed Rollins’ remarks on “Andrea Mitchell Reports” Monday. Rollins, the former campaign manager, said that Bachmann doesn’t have “the ability or the resources to go beyond Iowa.”  Rollins remains an unpaid advisor to the campaign.

Citing interviews with doctors, the New York Times reports that Bachmann’s comments linking the HPV vaccine to “mental retardation” could set public health efforts back by three years.

Expecting softballs… During a radio interview Monday with Chicago Talk Radio station WSL, Bachmann said she had been taken by surprise by questions she received from Jay Leno during her appearance on The Tonight Show.  Bachmann said on WSL’s “Don Wade and Roma Show” that questions she received during her interview didn’t match her pre-interview.  "I was very surprised because we had had a pre-show interview and that wasn't at all what I was told we were going to be talking about. So I was very surprised," Bachmann said.

The LA Times calls Bachmann’s stop Monday at a Waterloo traffic signal manufacturer “off-key.”  It was the second stop on a tour of factories meant to highlight her plans for the economy.  “On her visit to a traffic signal plant Monday,” the newspaper writes, “Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann called it an example of how President Obama’s policies are ‘continuing to dig us deeper into the hole toward another recession.’”

HUNTSMAN: NBC’s Jo Ling Kent looks at the Huntsman campaign focusing its efforts on New Hampshire and skipping Florida’s upcoming straw poll, despite a campaign headquarters in Florida and having told the St. Petersburg Times saying he would "aggressively" compete in the event. "Governor Huntsman will be spending substantial time in New Hampshire this fall," campaign spokesman Michael Levoff told NBC News on Monday. "In order to be successful in states like Florida, it's crucial Governor Huntsman leaves New Hampshire with a head of steam, so campaigning in the Granite State will continue to be our top priority."

PERRY: Via AP, here are some excerpts of Perry's prepared remarks for his morning press conference in New York: "We are indignant that certain Middle Eastern leaders have discarded the principle of direct negotiations between the sovereign nation of Israel and the Palestinian leadership," Perry said. "And we are equally indignant that the Obama administration's Middle East policy of appeasement has encouraged such an ominous act of bad faith."

And: "It's vitally important for America to preserve alliances with leaders who seek to preserve peace and stability in the region," Perry said. "But today, neither adversaries nor allies know where America stands. Our muddle of a foreign policy has created great uncertainty in the midst of the Arab Spring."

“Texas Gov. Rick Perry received an unexpected welcome to New York City Monday -- when Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel turned up at the Republican presidential hopeful's Harlem fundraiser,” the New York Post reports. Rangel said, "I wanted to make him feel comfortable. I would not embarrass him here.”

ROMNEY: “Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has long been critical of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, blaming the government-backed housing lenders for inducing the home-mortgage crisis and saying they have become too unwieldy,” the Boston Globe writes, “Yet Romney has profited from investments that were made in both government entities, according to his personal finance disclosure forms and documents compiled by American Bridge, one of several Democratic groups in Washington formed to back the election campaigns of Obama and other Democrats.”

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson all but endorses Romney in the Washington Post: “Perry is a perfect candidate for a time of Tea Party anger — say, around 2010. But Romney has a better case in a time of economic fear — like the one we may be entering — when competence becomes a desperate political demand. In this case, Republicans may choose, once again, not the purist they love but the old hand they trust.”