Tonight will be the first and only debate among the 4 candidates. Governor Rick "Adios, MoFo*" Perry has agreed to appear at only one debate. That's probably the right thing for him to do, because the more he appears in public with them, the greater the chances that he might do something stupid for the others to capitalize on - and he don't wanna do dat.
This means that the others need to take advantage of the time that they have with Perry. Preparation will be key. The candidate who needs to be the most prepared is Carol Keeton Strayhorn. She will have to absolutely pounce on any opportunity that Perry gives her, but in an "Anne Richards" type of smoothness rather than a "pit bull" type of attack mode.
Kinky Friedman will need to use this opportunity to show the voters that he is indeed serious about running for governor. He's gotten the most free advertising because of his unique personality, but that can also work against him, especially when he acts like a goofball. He needs to be more selective on when he uses humor, and on what kind of humor he uses. Yes, humor is part of who he is, but if he wants to be taken serious as a candidate, then he needs to learn how to be serious when he needs to be serious.
Chris Bell MUST do well in this debate. A mediocre or substandard showing will kill any shot (and it's a long shot as it is) that he might have at winning the governor's seat. Of all the candidates appearing tonight, the most pressure is on him to succeed. Succeed, and his candidacy will receive a shot in the arm. Fail, and he might as well sit out the rest of the race, or hope that the other 3 candidates do something spectactularly bad that he looks good by comparison.
Tomorrow, I'll be posting my take on how each of the candidates do tonight.
*"Adios, MoFo" is what Perry had said to reporters one time when a press conference that he was in had ended. The reporters picked up on that, and it became something of a minor controversy, but it also gave a more human touch to someone who often looks and acts rather stiffly. That comment also spurred a line of t-shirts and other products, which can only help him with free advertising if Perry opponents are foolish enough to wear those things as a way to turn others off on Perry.
By the way, "MoFo" is shorthand for "mother f****r", which I didn't know until a friend of mine told me. He then said, "Didn't you ever hear that phrase in high school?" I told him that, at the high school that I went to, they used the whole phrase, and not just the shorthand version of that phrase.
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