ABC's The Note: Perry Signs Pro-Life Pledge

This article first appeared online at on August 24, 2011.

The Note: Stirred — But Not Shaken

August 24, 2011 9:07 AM

By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone) and AMY WALTER (@amyewalter)

Most of the 2012 presidential candidates are using the last weeks of August to regroup and raise money before the campaign kicks into high gear after Labor Day with a busy schedule of appearances and debates.

But we’re already seeing glimmers of what comes next. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has been trying to catch up quickly to his competitors, has shaken up the race but still needs to prove he’s got the skills to win it.

To that end, he’s checking off many of the boxes he’ll need to shore up conservative support. Today, Perry becomes the newest Republican presidential candidate to sign on to the Susan B. Anthony Lists’ pro-life Pledge.

“I not only pledge to protect unborn life, but have a record of doing so in Texas,” Perry said in a statement.

And among the conservative chattering class, his candidacy is picking up steam. Erick Erickson, the founder of the blog, Red State, wrote in a post today that Perry is “rapidly” becoming the front-runner and “consolidating the lead.”

The Texas governor is heading back to Iowa this weekend to speak at a county Republican gathering in Des Moines, he’ll be at a major Republican gathering on Labor Day and he just signed on to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida next month.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney, from whom Perry is trying to wrest the front-runner mantle is holed up in the place he knows best — New Hampshire — where he is campaigning for the next two days, holding town halls and business roundtables, staples of the Romney campaign diet.

Romney is taking comfort in the routine. As they do many mornings, his campaign team released a new web video today bashing President Obama (this one is titled: “Obama Isn’t Working: Right To Work”) and just minutes later circulated the endorsement of former New Hampshire State Senate President Tom Eaton.

And potential presidential candidate Sarah Palin doesn’t seem ready to shake up the presidential race just yet. The former Alaska governor will headline a Tea Party of America event in Iowa on Sept. 3, but SarahPAC put out a statement this week warning that “DC pundits” are “citing false information that she has made a decision and set a date regarding a future campaign.”

“Any professional pundit claiming to have ‘inside information’ regarding Governor Palin’s personal decision is not only wrong but their comments are specifically intended to mislead the American public,” the statement said.

As for President Obama, who is on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard this week, Libya should be a big winner for him, but as questions linger about what’s next there, the latest Gallup tracking poll shows his approval rating hovering at 38 percent.

MORE ON PERRY’S PLEDGE. Perry becomes the seventh presidential candidate (including Tim Pawlenty, who dropped out of the race after the Ames Straw Poll) to sign the Susan B. Anthony List’s Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge. “Governor Perry has been a long-time friend of, and leader for, the pro-life community,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. Perry joins Michele Bachmann, Thad McCotter, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich, who have also signed on. Candidates who sign the pledge are expected to “select only pro-life appointees” for Cabinet and Executive Branch positions and nominations to the federal bench and “advance pro-life legislation to permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion,” among other things.

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