Commentary: Rick Perry has lost but he'll keep running

Under Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry' plan, the income tax return would look like this one sheet.
Under Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry' plan, the income tax return would look like this one sheet. Tim Dominick/The State/MCT

I'm going to go out on a limb and say Gov. Rick Perry won't be our next president.

But also, he can't quit.

Seven weeks before the voting in South Carolina, three months before other primaries, he and his donors have invested too much to give up when the competition is as cold as yesterday's pizza.

That's why Perry was on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on Thursday night, and why he'll be back here in mid-December raising more money.

And that's why he was in New Hampshire on Tuesday, delivering a new round of bloopers to make everybody forget The Immigration Stumble and The Maple Syrup Giggle and The Oops.

I won't belabor this, but Perry asked for votes from "those of you that will be 21 by November the 12th."

He missed both the voting age (18) and the election day (the New Hampshire primary is Jan. 10, the general election Nov. 6).

There was some debate as to whether Perry intentionally said "21," since 18-year-olds favor Ron Paul in some polls.

But the really wrong number for Perry right now is 4.

That's his percentage in South Carolina.

To be exact, Perry is winning 3.7 percent there, five touchdowns behind Newt Gingrich (38) and two behind Mitt Romney (15).

And that's why Perry toured New Hampshire on Tuesday with his new best friend: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

"Rick Perry is the real deal," Arpaio, 79, wrote in a fundraising e-mail from "America's Toughest Sheriff."

"No candidate has done more to secure the border," Arpaio wrote, describing the $400 million that Perry authorized in Texas over eight years.

Perry said that if elected president, he can secure the border within a year.

In Scottsdale, Ariz., one of Arpaio's opponents also had something to say.

"I'd like to know why our sheriff is in New Hampshire, whether he's taking time off, and who's paying the bill," said Scottsdale police Lt. Mike Stauffer, 50, a 28-year officer and former Republican executive committeeman running as an independent.

On Twitter, Stauffer accused Perry and Arpaio of "pandering, desperation and hypocrisy."

"Governor Perry is pandering to those voters who want to see an immigration position of 'enforcement-only,'" Stauffer said

The tough-talking but much-investigated Arpaio is a "hypocrite," Stauffer said, for supporting someone more moderate.

"I thought the governor was a reasonable man," Stauffer said.

"This can only hurt him in the long run."

This looks like a very long run.

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