With Perry's ascent, time for Mitt Romney to seriously invest in Florida

That's prompted political analysts from Bangor to San Diego to contemplate Mitt's new strategy, which apparently was always intended to get serious post-labor day, where, for example, he is scheduled to give a "major" speech on the economy next week.

Some pundits have criticized Romney's sort of 'above it all' campaign style this summer, where, by virtue of name recognition, strong fundraising and presumably the fact that he is a better known brand in 2011, he immediately shot up to the top of the list of presumptive front runners for the nomination.

But suddenly (and somewhat shockingly), Governor Perry has immediately zoomed past Romney in most national polls, and as CL always cautioned, polls are pretty insignificant in August of 2011.

However, there's no question that Romney's strategy of ignoring his opponents and taking the argument straight to Barack Obama is going to have to be recalibrated, and with three debates taking place between the candidates next month, we should see how Romney deals with Perry quickly.

But Romney has already said he won't change what he's doing. "My campaign approach remains exactly the same," he said.

But as the Los Angeles Times reports this morning, something might require him to change: the fact that Perry is coming in and swooping up some of that campaign cash that, apparently like many corporations, have been "sitting on the sidelines" waiting to invest.

The Times reports:

But Perry's progress could make it more difficult for Romney to raise money in an already challenging environment for GOP presidential candidates. A significant number of Republican "bundlers" — heavy hitters who can sweep up big contributions from their personal networks — remain on the sidelines, waiting to see how the race develops and who will be the likely nominee.

According to the Gallup survey, Perry built a double-digit advantage over Romney by drawing broad support across GOP subgroups. An ability to bridge the party divide between social conservative hard-liners and more moderate conservatives is considered key to winning the nomination.

The Times reports that Romney may start focusing on Iowa with Perry now in it, but CL always believes he needs to seriously invest in Florida as well.

Let's just say here that we still have no idea who the GOP nominee will be in 2012. But one thing we have written from the start is that while Romney is head and shoulders the choice of the Republican party establishment, he is anathema to Tea Party interests, and thus the question has been how much can that part of the party (which is not 50 percent plus) insure that Romney is not the candidate?

All we know is that Perry is turning on those Tea Party types, even more than those who were turned on by Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain and Ron Paul. And that should worry Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney will be in Tampa on Friday, where he is scheduled to address the National Hispanic Republican Assembly Convention. Later that same morning, an event will be held in Tampa to celebrate the official grand opening of his Florida campaign headquarters.

And from the look of things, it comes right in the nick of time.

That's because while you were being distracted by Hurricane Irene, a new front runner has emerged in the GOP race for president, and his name is Rick Perry.

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