Every day we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day's conversation inside and outside Washington.
Senior Political Columnist for TheDailyBeast.com John Avlon:
– Perry on Top – It's not a blip or a bounce – Rick Perry has emerged with a commanding double-digit lead over former de facto front-runner Mitt Romney. Expect Mitt to drop his above the fray approach and go on offense against Perry. First real test of new tactics will be September 7th and 12th debates – high stakes, real-time action.
– Will She or Won't She – Sarah Palin remains a factor in this campaign, with all eyes turning to her September 3rd speech at a Tea Party Rally in Iowa. Two possible options would be pivotal. If Palin suddenly gets in the race – not an impossibility – she should dig into both Bachmann and Perry's poll numbers as the share the same Tea-Vangelist base, benefitting Romney. If she endorses Rick Perry – also a rumored possibility – it would be a decisive blow to Romney and put Perry in pole position.
– Dick Cheney's Memoir – Don't believe the hype about "heads exploding," but Cheney's memoir has revived the old divisions and debates in the Bush administration – Dick and Rummy vs. Colin and Condi. I think the Powell Doctrine is going to look better and better in the eyes of history. The Bush Administration can take credit for keeping America safe after 9/11 but they need to take responsibility for Iraq – and Cheney is at the heart of both strategic approaches – for better or worse, a master of navigating DC bureaucracy.
RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:
– There's a brewing story that may be a controversy or non-controversy, but still seems like a story. Did Barack Obama fly his buses around? Several media outlets have picked it up that instead of driving on the campaign buses from one stop to the next, Barack Obama and the buses flew to the stops. Surely this can't be so? But even regular news outlets are starting to question what happened.
– Barack Obama's nominee for the head of the Council of Economic Advisors once wrote that extending unemployment benefits kept unemployment high. Whenever I've said this, liberals have roundly criticized me. But now an Obama appointee has written an academic paper proving it to be the case.
– Mitt Romney is prepping his attacks on Rick Perry. The case will largely be made that Perry had nothing to do with job creation in Texas and is a career politician. The Perry counter? Romney would be a career politician had he not kept losing.
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CNN's Gloria Borger and panel members discuss a new leader in the 2012 GOP presidential race.