Rivals ask: Is Perry weak on the right, or left?

September 19, 2011 - 10:45 AM
Republicans Perry 2012

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2011 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks in Jefferson, Iowa. Perry still sits atop polls for the GOP presidential nomination race. His Republican rivals struggling to find a coherent, easy-to-grasp argument against the Texas governor. Republican voters who watched last week's presidential debate and its aftermath might wonder: should I see Perry as too conservative, or too moderate? (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rick Perry's Republican rivals are struggling to find a coherent, easy-to-grasp argument against the Texas governor and GOP front-runner.

Republican voters who watched last week's presidential debate and its aftermath might wonder: Should I see Perry as too conservative or too moderate?

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney depicts Perry's criticisms of Social Security as too far to the right. On immigration, however, Romney and other opponents say Perry veers too far left. And Rep. Michele Bachmann is leading a chorus that says Perry is too lax about individual freedoms because he wanted Texas to vaccinate all schoolgirls against a sexually transmitted disease.

Perry's rivals will get more chances to probe for political soft spots this week in a series of forums in Florida and Michigan.