martes, 25 de septiembre de 2012

Crónica del más espectacular ascenso y caída de un candidato presidencial


(Foto: AP)

Jay Root, reportero de The Texas Tribune que siguió la campaña presidencial del Gobernador Rick Perry, ha escrito "Oops!", una crónica de 213 páginas sobre cómo se produjo la caída de la una vez prometedora campaña del un día favorito entre los aspirantes republicanos de 2012, el preferido del Tea Party, el niño bonito de la política texana que en treinta años no había perdido una elección.

Según Root, hubo una confluencia de factores: la improvisación por entrar tarde en campaña, la falta de descanso, problemas de salud del candidato, la división del personal de la campaña en facciones rivales.

The Week adelanta cuatro cuestiones que se revelan en el libro:

1. Perry got no sleep the night before his "oops" Root reveals that during the debate debacles, Perry "was just very sleepy," says Taylor Berman at Gawker. The candidate, who had undergone back surgery in July 2011, had painful sensations in his leg and foot that were keeping him up at night. As Root puts it, after the surgery sidelined him, he went from being a light sleeper to being an insomniac, and it showed. The morning before one debate the governor told his travel aide: "I didn't sleep a wink." A Florida GOP official who met the candidate during one commercial break told reporters she could tell he was in physical distress: "His hand was so cold, like ice. And he was sweating. I don't know what it was, but something was definitely wrong."

2. Everyone was shocked by his disastrous debates During one debate, Perry gave "a rambling, incoherent attack" in which he tried to accuse Mitt Romney of being a flip-flopper, says Connor Simpson at The Atlantic. Root says an ABC News reporter, Arlette Saenz, turned to him and asked, "Was he like this in Texas?" Root, often called on to provide similar perspective, was at a loss. "Honey, we're in uncharted waters," he told Saenz. "Behind the scenes, Perry's team was just as confused as anyone. Their guy was awful, and they knew it."

3. The belated diagnosis for Perry's fog: Sleep apnea Armchair medical experts chalked up Perry's mental lapses to painkillers prescribed after his back surgery, say Ashley Killough and Kevin Bohn at CNN, but the campaign maintained he had stopped taking them. Advisers called in sleep specialists, who diagnosed sleep apnea, Root says, a disorder affecting one in 10 men, causing "loud snoring and temporary lapses in breathing that disrupt normal sleep." Perry's doctors prescribed a breathing machine that pushes a constant flow of air through the breathing passages, which helped. "Perry, an exercise junkie, soon got back to normal once he was able to work out again." By then it was too late, Root says. "The narrative had already been set. He was becoming an afterthought."

4. Perry was going down in flames — even without "oops" One thing Root's account makes clear, says Joe Holley at the Houston Chronicle, is that "even if Perry had slept like a baby for eight hours a night," he didn't stand a chance of acing a brutal, unforgiving presidential campaign. The "multitudinous gaffes" were just the tip of the iceberg. There was also "infighting and feuding at the top and the candidate's woeful ill-preparedness." Those factors alone "would have been enough to doom the campaign." The historically memorable "oops" moment "was merely the coup de grace."