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Inside the Boiler Room: Will the Washington Post's article help or hurt Rick Perry?


Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry is under fire after a racist remark was found written on a rock at his family's hunting camp. Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss whether or not the article detailing the racist remark will help or hurt Rick Perry. 

Thanks to Bob-1887910 for the question! Keep an eye out for next week's Boiler Room segments and the chance to ask Mark and Domenico more questions.

Transcribed by NBC's Laura Olson.


DOMENICO MONTANARO: Hey there, I'm Dominico Montanaro back here with you on another edition of the Inside the Boiler Room with my colleague, Mark Murray. And Mark we have a question from Bob, he says "Is it possible the Washington Post piece on Rick Perry will end up helping him in a Republican primary?” He believes most conservatives think that his is another liberal media attack with little substance, thinly sourced article, he says. Central point here, will it hurt or help Rick Perry in a Republican primary?

MARK MURRAY: It's a good question. Let me give a little context on that Washington Post article. It had to do with Rick Perry's lease on a hunting cabin that he and his family had. It had a very racially charged name, the camp's name as well as a rock that was attached to it. We're not going to repeat the name here, but it was a piece that got a lot of discussion, controversial. And for, at least for the Republican race, this was just bad news, a bad story for Rick Perry to have to deal with. Another day, another bad story. Bob has a point. That this doesn't really impact him all that much at least in a Republican primary. In fact, when you look at Rick Perry's recent stumbles, it's been more on the debate side. And what's really tripped him up has been immigration, more than this Washington Post story. I think that Rick Perry's support for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants is going to be more impactful among Republican voters than this particular article. But overall, you look at this article; it's just another. What Rick Perry's folks need is some good news to tell them, or at least some bad news about Mitt Romney. And this Washington Post story was just bad news for Rick Perry.

DOMENICO MONTANARO: It's bad news, especially following those debate performances. The other thing that added some fuel to the fire was Herman Cain, who is the only African American in the race running on the Republican side. You know, kind of saying, "this is offensive, this is insensitive" and then of course, Mitt Romney, "Well I don’t know about the facts but it is offensive. Rick Perry is going to have to deal with this." Now the other thing, though it didn't get much attention, but there was another story written by the Associated Press that Rick Perry had stood up for confederate symbols in the state of Texas. Now, look, people have, you know gone on air and said they don't think Rick Perry's a racist, but when this kind of a narrative starts to be driven, where you have this confederate story, you have this rock at the hunting camp story. That can present a problem with independent voters perhaps, of course with democrats. Maybe not as much with Republican primary voters, one person made a good point to me: "Well, South Carolina voters certainly aren't going to care," of course they've had that confederate flag flapped for a while, but what it could do, if you have enough of this, it becomes cemented. When it comes down to "We want to beat President Obama" and they think Rick Perry is damaged to the point where he's unelectable, well then that's what Mitt Romney's going to hope for and that's the one way it could potentially harm him in a Republican primary.

MARK MURRAY: As we know very well, those mid-west battle states are where the presidential elections are won and lost, and so, while these stories might not matter for Rick Perry in South Carolina, maybe in some parts of Virginia or you're thinking about Georgia, you know, how does it play in Ohio? How does it play in Wisconsin? And that's probably something at the very bottom, where Mitt Romney's trying to make that case. Look, I play better in the Midwest than Rick Perry does.

DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yeah, as soon as it comes down to an electability case, which is what Mitt Romney's going to try to do. Well, thanks for the question, Bob.