Blogs and reporters are learning that covering Rick Perry (pictured) will be fun, entertaining and interesting. As a Texan and long-time subscriber of Texas Monthly I remember this article from February of 2010 asking if Rick Perry would be a presidential candidate. More recently, here's a story about Perry as the Great Campaigner.
While Perry is a three-termer he benefited in 2002 from his opponent, Tony Sanchez, being an exceptionally weak candidate. In 2006, he won with just 39% of the vote. In 2010 against a quality candidate he managed a quality victory with 55% of the vote. See his electoral history here.
Concerning Perry's performance, you can learn about Texas's economic performance, whether Perry solved Texas's budgetary crises with "sleight-of-hand", how Perry benefited from Big Energy, Perry's record on the environment, Medicaid, and why Texas has the highest percentage of residents uninsured. Paul Krugman (NYT) is unimpressed with Perry's economic record.
As far as Perry's main GOP competition goes, Michele Bachmann was apparently for federal pork projects for her district before she was against federal pork spending for everyone else's congressional districts. Beth Reinhard of The Atlantic says we shouldn't worry too much about Bachmann, that the real race is Romney v. Perry.
Not sure who Obama would rather run against, but I'm betting they'd prefer Bachmann or Perry as it would be easier to focus on a few of their wilder quotes like this comparing printing more money as treasonous. They will definitely accuse Perry as being a "carbon copy of the failed policies of the past." No doubt he'll attack Romney's character and business background.
Does Ames matter?
Joshua Tucker writes that the Iowa Straw poll maybe doesn't actually matter. Nate Silver (NYT) disagrees.
While it's not a state, D.C. wins the title of "state" that is most economically confident.