MYRTLE BEACH — Here’s a few lines from a few of the campaign surrogates following last night’s debate, in the dizzying verbal rotations of campaign surrogates speaking on behalf of their candidates in the Fox News “spin room.”
Gresham Barrett, a former Carolina congressman, and Santorum backer —
On what’s next after Saturday: “We’re still going to Florida.”
On still-undecided evangelicals: “They’re looking for a candidate who’s well rounded,” and who can speak on the economy, he said. “People’s radar’s are just coming up.”
On Perry: “The governor’s been gravely wounded in both primaries.”
On next few days: “There’s still room for a lot of movement. Let’s take it one day at a time.”
Katon Dawson, a prominent Perry spokesman, and former state GOP chairman —
On comparisons to Santorum: “It’s not a beauty contest, it’s a job interview. Rick Perry wins.”
On this week and beyond: “We have to take a hard look at who can create the electoral heat,” and Perry can, he said.
Jean Hampton and Janet Spencer, of the Carolina Patriots, a Tea Party group, and Perry fans since his campaign started —
On their guy: “He’s the real deal,” Hampton said. She added that they broke from Jim and Billie Gunn over the Myrtle Beach Tea Party, who are backing Gingrich. Their group doesn’t give official endorsements, Spencer said, and reporters should remember (and here they looked at me earnestly), that the Tea Party is a movement, and not a unified identity, composed of several “tea parties.” In Spencer’s words, “it’s a movement, and not a party.”
On their impact on local politics: “We are influential, and when we speak, they listen.”
Chad Connelly, the state Republican Party chairman —
On what he thought of the night: “It was a pivotal and decisive debate, and it’ll give voters plenty to think about before Thursday [when the next event is held,” he said.
On why Carolina still matters: The state is a “blend of fiscal conservatives, evangelics and military” voters, representative of the national GOP scene.
On those who say that the race is basically over, and that the non-Romeny’s can’t get ahead: He says the candidates’ ads have yet to really impact the voters in his state, and “polls are fickle.”
“Voters are getting tuned in now,” he said.