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2012: The rise and fall of Rick Perry

In a Washington Post/ABC poll, Mitt Romney leads with 25%, “which is identical to his support from a month ago.” Rick Perry dropped dramatically, losing half of his support since early September. He now stands at 16%, tied with Herman Cain, who went up 12 points.

Romney and Christie essentially tie Obama in the poll. Obama leads Romney 47%-46%, Christie 46%-44%, and has a slightly wider lead against Perry, 49%-44%.

The New York Daily News picks up on the Bloomberg Koch brothers investigation: “Tea Party bankrollers David and Charles Koch flouted U.S. laws by selling millions of dollars worth of oil equipment to the world's leading supporter of global terrorism - Iran, a bombshell report claimed.”

BACHMANN: The AP: “Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is losing her senior adviser and pollster in a staff exodus that raises questions about the viability of her White House bid and her campaign finances.” She lost her pollster, Ed Goeas, senior adviser Andy Parrish, who is her congressional chief of staff, Doug Sachtleban, who is her congressional spokesman, and her scheduler. “The moves signal an effort to preserve money three months ahead of the first Republican nominating contests.”

NBC’s Jamie Novogrod reports that during an evening visit to a "Faith and Values" meeting Monday, Michele Bachmann insisted that the news that four staffers are leaving her campaign is not a sign of trouble.  “This has been in line with our plan all along,” she told reporters.  “This isn’t a shakeup.”

The New York Times on the campaign staff departures: "Two more important players are leaving Representative Michele Bachmann’s campaign, on top of earlier high-profile departures, adding to the impression of drip-drip-drip troubles facing her candidacy."

The Washington Post’s fact checker gives Bachmann three Pinocchios for her claim that Chinese lasers have “blinded” U.S. satellites. “We don’t know what, if any, classified information Bachmann has access to about this incident, but the public record is pretty damning. Bachmann made a provocative charge based on flimsy and outdated evidence, citing her seat on the Intelligence Committee to give it credibility,” The Post writes. “Either because Bachmann does not know the difference between ‘blinded’ and ‘illuminated’ — or because she chose to ignore the difference — she made a very misleading claim.”

Bachmann's two-day swing of Iowa concludes Tuesday with events in Des Moines, Newton, and Grinnell.

CHRISTIE: The AP looks at some of the challenges facing a potential Christie launch: “Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has been silent in early-voting primary states, and if he decides to join the Republican presidential race, he would face the challenge of launching a campaign from a standing start.”

Chris Christie has not been reaching out to Republicans in Iowa or New Hampshire about organizing a potential run, the Washington Post reports.  But it could be a sign that "confidence within Christie’s circle that the adoring and hungry Republican elites who have courted him can compensate for his organizational deficit with momentum."

“The governor has all but shut down communications with his advisers -- even his inner circle -- telling them he had already gathered all the information he needs to make his decision. The only thing left is for him to come to a decision in his own mind,” the New York Post adds. “

“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has kept the political world in suspense for weeks over his presidential intentions, told prominent California fund-raisers and donors as recently as last Wednesday he had no plans to seek the White House,” the Wall Street Journal reports (hat tip: Taegan Goddard). “One assurance took the form of a pledge Mr. Christie made to Meg Whitman, the newly appointed Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive, said two people familiar with the matter. As a condition of Ms. Whitman's hosting a high-priced fund-raiser for him, Mr. Christie said he wouldn't enter the Republican presidential contest, these people said.”

Though yesterday (Oct. 3) marked the 20-year anniversary of Bill Clinton's announcement, National Journal writes that the timing of Clinton's campaign should serve as a warning, not an inspiration, for a Christie run.

PERRY: The Washington Post writes about Perry’s “complicated” record on race. “As governor of Texas, Rick Perry appointed the first African American to the state Supreme Court and later made him chief justice. One of Perry’s appointments to the Board of Regents of his alma mater, Texas A&M University, became its first black chairman. One chief of staff and two of his general counsels have been African American.”

“But many of those minority legislators say Perry has a long history — dating to his first race for statewide office more than 20 years ago — of engaging in what they see as racially tinged tactics and rhetoric to gain political advantage.”

Perry’s “book’s sweeping states’ rights arguments have created a major problem for Perry and his advisers, forcing them to argue that his views are not out of the mainstream in the Republican primary, let alone in a general election matchup against President Obama,” the Boston Globe writes. “Filled with brash language and bold criticism of entitlements, clean-air rules, and education laws, “Fed Up!’’ grew out of Perry’s deepening interest in the Tea Party movement, which was a newly ascendant force in the middle of 2010, when he wrote it.”

ROMNEY: “Mitt Romney kept up his attacks on rival Rick Perry, slamming as ‘offensive’ the name that once adorned a rock outside the entrance of a hunting camp leased by the Texas governor’s family,” the New York Post writes of Romney’s appearance on FOX.  Romney said, “I’ve followed it from afar. I think it’s offensive. I think most people think it’s offensive.”

“Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has bolstered his Florida campaign staff as the state shuffled the national primary schedule by moving the contest up into January,” Roll Call reports.

Pat Robertson “said he considers [Romney] the Mormon candidate ‘an outstanding Christian,’ but declined to say if he would be OK with a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the White House,” AP writes (via GOP 12).