Note: This blog's templates will be updated this afternoon to a responsive design bringing it in line with

At that time, we will also change to the Facebook commenting system. You will need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment.

« Catcalls for Cardenas at Tea Party luncheon | Main | Gov. Rick Scott skips tea party debate, heads north »

Rick Perry gets Jindal; Mitt Romney scores Pawlenty, new Florida staffer

One of the most popular governors in the South, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, is scheduled to be in tonight's so-called "spin room" tonight in support of Rick Perry in his surging Republican presidential bid.

Perhaps the biggest news for Perry is that CNN's poll heading into the debate shows Perry is no longer marginally ahead in the race. He's starting to blow away Mitt Romney. In the multi-candidate matchup, Perry garners 32 percent of the vote to Romney's 21 percent.

He's viewed as a stronger leader than Romney (36-21) and he's viewed as being more able to fix the economy (35-26).

Meantime, one of the also-rans in the race, Tim Pawlenty is heading to Tampa a surrogate for Romney, whom he endorsed this morning.

"Gov. Romney has unmatched experience and skills and talents when it comes to the economy and creating private sector jobs,'' Pawlenty told the St. Pete Times, explaining why he backed Romney over Rick Perry."

Despite his low poll numbers, Pawlenty had won some prominent Florida endorsements and supporters, including fundraiser Phil Handy, and future state House Speakers Will Weatherford, Chris Dorworth and Richard Corcoran. "We were very fortunate that we had great support in Florida from some emerging leaders. I'm hoping that as many of them as possible will join the Romney team. I'm certainly going to be talking to a number of them to make the case."

Pawlenty echoed Romney's argument that Rick Perry will be vulnerable in the general election for having written that Social Security is unconstitutional and a failure.

"Gov. Romney has the better position. He doesn't believe that it should be abolished or that it's a failure."

Also, Romney has hired Florida consultant Brett Doster on staff after Perry beefed up his Florida team.