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Perry backer won't defect but urges end to jabs at Romney's Bain work


COLUMBIA, S.C. – After Rick Perry's attacks on Mitt Romney's private-sector resume cost him one high-profile South Carolina supporter Thursday, another influential Perry backer said he won’t change his endorsement but also asked for the Bain Capital jabs to stop.

David Wilkins, a former U.S. ambassador to Canada who endorsed Perry in August, told NBC News that he had voiced his dislike of Perry’s anti-Bain attacks with the campaign here.

"I think it's sort of ironic for Republicans to be attacking each other on capitalism and the free-enterprise system, which is something our whole party is based on," Wilkins said.

Earlier Thursday, Barry Wynn, a financial adviser and former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, told the Washington Postthat Perry's criticism of Romney's Bain record "kind of moved me over the top," compelling him to switch to the Romney camp.

Wilkins, a former South Carolina speaker of the House, said Perry and his Republican rivals "ought to accentuate the positive in everybody's campaign and leave the negatives to the other side and not be cutting each other up so much."

Wilkins was more supportive of Perry's TV ads, which tout his military record and Christian conservatism, calling them "extremely positive" and "professionally good."

Related story: Perry backs off 'vulture' attack on Romney and Bain