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Perry targets a different Democrat a day


On Tuesday, it was "You better believe it, Steny." On Wednesday, it was a not-so cordial invitation to debate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. On Friday, it was a stinging rebuke of Attorney General Eric Holder.

As Texas Gov. Rick Perry tries to get back what a sympathetic television host called his "political sea legs," he has spent the last week targeting Democratic officials much reviled by his conservative base.

The pot shots come after Perry's pitch early last week to create a "part time" Congress and slash lawmakers' pay. When the idea was met with ridicule by House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Perry delighted in pointing out the Maryland lawmaker's long tenure in Congress.

His mid-week Twitter war with Pelosi culminated in a call for her to turn over her financial records to the Securities and Exchange Commission after the speaker was reported to be one of several lawmakers who benefited from well-timed stock trades. On Friday, before an audience of law enforcement agents, Perry all but called for Holder's ouster as a result of the controversial "Fast and Furious" operation.

Those attacks have come atop a drumbeat of Perry's critiques of the White House. The Texas governor has doubled down on his claim that President Obama labeled the American people "lazy" (Politifact Texas rated Perry's statement "mostly false.") He claimed on FOX this week that the president does not understand the nation's fiscal woes because he "grew up in a privileged way."

Each attack against his Democratic opponents represents a slab of red meat for his potential supporters, as Perry works to convince them to look past his debate missteps to view him as a contrast to the political "establishment." More subtle -- but more important to the survival of his campaign -- are the "establishment"-based digs at his Republican opponents he's laced in between.

"Unique to the Republican field, I have never been an establishment figure, have never served in Congress or part of an administration, and have never been a paid lobbyist," Perry said Tuesday, previewing a new ad his campaign unveiled on Saturday. "My career has been that of a Washington outsider."