Top Talkers: NBC News/WSJ Poll shows Rick Perry leading the 2012 GOP field

Updated
By Liz Grodd
Republican presidential candidates from left, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., businessman Herman Cain, former Rep. Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are seen on stage at the American Principles Project Palmetto Freedom Forum Monday Sept. 5, 2011, in Columbia, S.C.
Republican presidential candidates from left, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., businessman Herman Cain, former Rep. Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are seen on stage at the American Principles Project Palmetto Freedom Forum Monday Sept. 5, 2011, in Columbia, S.C.
AP

The new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll shows Rick Perry leading the GOP field with 38% support.  Mitt Romney follows the Texas Governor with 23%.  The poll comes as five of the Republican party’s presidential contenders traveled to South Carolina yesterday to participate in a forum hosted by tea party power broker, Senator Jim Demint.  The candidates were pressed on an array of issues ranging from healthcare to abortion to the role of organized labor.  Mitt Romney generally played it safe in front of the conservative crowd, choosing not to criticize any of his opponents at the tea party forum. The former Governor was asked about his Massachusetts health care law, replying that it would be a”big asset” in a general election fight against President Obama.  Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann participated in the event last night despite major shake-ups in her campaign.  Strategist Ed Rollins will step back from day-to-day management of the Bachmann campaign, moving to a senior advisory role. Additionally, Rollins’ deputy, David Polansky is leaving the team all together.  Rollins said the change was for personal reasons, citing his health and the rigors of the campaign.  However, last night on CNN, Rollins was frank about Bachmann’s chances, saying, “it’s a Romney-Perry race.” 

Meanwhile, Rick Perry was notably absent from Demint’s forum in South Carolina.  The Texas Governor dropped out last minute to deal with the wildfires in his state.  But before heading back to Texas, Perry was still able to campaign in South Carolina.  Speaking at a town hall with Congressman Tim Scott, Perry spoke of the Republican field, while taking a swipe at rival Mitt Romney.  He said, “There’s going to be some that get up and say ‘Well I’ve created jobs,’ and that’s true. There’s one in particular who’s created jobs all over the world, but while he was the Governor of Massachusetts, he didn’t create very many jobs.”

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Top Talkers: NBC News/WSJ Poll shows Rick Perry leading the 2012 GOP field

Updated