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Giddy up! In just one week, Rick Perry has gone from hemming and hawing over a Presidential bid to galloping to the front of the GOP 2012 field. He’s trampling on the other candidates, including impossible-to-ignore Michele Bachmann, who should have been riding high after her Straw Poll win. But Perry’s leaving them all in the dust. He threw a verbal punch at Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, then blew off Mitt Romney with a kiss (“Send him my love”). Perry’s personality—big as the state he hails from—is shining through. But is it too much for the establishment GOP? Are some on the right worried about Candidate Perry, and hoping he’ll soon be Texas toast? That’s our top story tonight, with Fmr. RNC Chairman Michael Steele and author and political commentator Ron Reagan.

 

Then: Global warming. Is it man-made or “just God hugging us a little closer,” a line Tina Fey made famous while portraying Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live in the last election cycle. How can serious Presidential candidates—and in fact, a large part of the Republican Party—doubt the scientific facts like evolution and global warming? Jon Huntsman, a moderate in the GOP field, tweeted that he believes in evolution and global warming, adding “Call me crazy.” Since when is that position crazy? RNC Chair Reince Priebus makes his Hardball debut tonight. We’ll ask him whether the GOP is anti-science and what distinguishes the GOP from the Tea Party.  

 

Next up: Remember the 2008 Hillary Clinton ad with the phone ringing off the hook at 3 AM, alluding to a White House emergency and asking “Who do you want answering the phone?” While the country suffers economic woes, a stock market rollercoaster and widespread unemployment at home, some 2008 Obama supporters are wondering if this is Obama’s “3 AM call” moment…and if they’d prefer Hillary in the White House to answer the call. We’ll talk it over with msnbc Political Analysts Eugene Robinson and Pat Buchanan

 

Plus: Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, New York Times reporters and authors of “Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda” join us to share new details on the bin Laden raid, talk about the U.S. call for Assad to relinquish power in Syria, and about the situation in Libya. Make sure you don’t miss this show!   

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