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Star-Telegram.com

Perry shakes up campaign, brings in top Bush adviser

Posted Monday, Oct. 24, 2011

By Dave Montgomery

dmontgomery@star-telegram.com

AUSTIN -- Gov. Rick Perry's campaign announced a major reorganization Monday to bring in talent from past presidential races as he prepared to unveil a flat tax as the next proposal in his emerging economic plan.

Perry is bringing in at least seven new political operatives, including three senior advisers, to help revitalize his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Perry, who entered the race in mid-August, was the GOP front-runner at one time but has floundered in the polls.

The advisers include Joe Allbaugh, who ran George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign after serving as Bush's chief of staff in the governor's office. Allbaugh was also director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency during Bush's first term.

Joining Allbaugh as senior advisers are pollster Tony Fabrizio, a senior strategist for Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign, and Fred Mass, who has more than 30 years' experience in GOP politics and has worked with several former presidential contenders, including Dole, Jack Kemp and John McCain.

Perry is also adding three members to his media team and is bringing in Stanton Anderson, a senior counsel in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as the campaign's congressional liaison.

"These experienced advisers will play an instrumental role in helping me share my vision to get America working again with the nation," Perry said in announcing the internal retooling.

The restructuring raised questions about the role of Dave Carney, a New Hampshire consultant who has been Perry's chief political strategist since 1998 and has been the top operative in the presidential campaign.

Campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan told The Associated Press that Carney will continue as Perry's top strategist, but Republican sources suggested that he will share decision-making with Allbaugh and other new members of the team.

Perry soared into the lead within days of entering the race Aug. 13, quickly overtaking former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. But he fell behind Romney after substandard debate performances and other setbacks.

Perry hopes to plant another installment in his comeback strategy today with a speech in Gray Court, S.C., where he will unveil a proposed flat tax as part of an economic plan that is also expected to include proposals for reducing federal spending and shrinking government.

With his call for a flat tax, Perry will embrace a theme espoused previously by publisher Steve Forbes and former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

Perry's expanded national media team will include Curt Anderson, Jim Innocenzi and Nelson Warfield, who have extensive résumés in national Republican politics.

Dave Montgomery is the Star-Telegram's Austin bureau chief.

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