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Perry’s Texas Turnaround Sets Stage for 2012 Bid

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The Texas Supreme Court had ruled that the state's method of financing public schools was unconstitutional, and Perry was forced to work with the Legislature to develop a new tax scheme to fund education. Just the fact that Perry was involved in this issue was enough to weigh him down in anti-tax Texas, even though he never advocated tax increases. In 2007, he angered social conservatives when he backed mandatory vaccinations of teenage girls for the human papilloma virus, although he supported a parental opt out.

Bush's popularity tanked over the course of 2005 and 2006, hurting the GOP politically in the process, and Perry wasn't immune. Perhaps at his lowest point ever with voters, Perry won re-election in 2006 with just 39 percent of the vote against five general election opponents, including the Republican-turned- Independent Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn. One Republican operative based in Texas said Perry's problems were compounded by being unexciting and contended that Perry's charisma was only recently acquired.

"His speaking style has really improved," the operative said. "He was Bush-ian when he first started — almost worse than Bush."

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