In a daring effort to resurrect their candidate’s flagging prospects and turn their biggest weakness into a strength, the Perry campaign is set to announce that their candidate suffers from something called Cognitive Infantilism, a chronic, life-long disease that impairs brain development and executive functioning. Seeking to re-position Mr. Perry as an underdog who has persevered in the face of enormous obstacles, the campaign has re-branded itself with a new slogan: “Overkoming Chalenges,” – which will appear in sloppy crayon handwriting, deliberately misspelled.
The Perry organization is rolling out an aggressive media campaign that will include 10 million dollars worth of television ads and appearances on several cable and network television programs. Monday afternoon in Los Angeles, Mr. Perry taped an episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show, where he spoke about the challenges he’s had to overcome as a life-long sufferer of Cognitive Infantilism. “When I’m having a hard time with my alphabet letters or can’t remember what a shoe is, I just think of FBR, who was in that wheelchair thing and couldn’t talk, but didn’t let that stop him from winnin’ Vietnam or puttin’ Rosa Parks on the moon,” said Mr. Perry.
The campaign is already up on the air in Iowa with a commercial that depicts the candidate struggling with his disease. In the ad, Mr. Perry is shown having lunch in the kitchen of the governor’s mansion, where he is seated in an oversized height chair and wearing a large bib that says ‘Don’t mess with Texas’. Ellen Hughes, the governor’s economic advisor, is spoon-feeding Mr. Perry a bowl of mashed up bananas while another aide points to a hand held chalkboard with the equation 1 + 1 written on it. At the end of the spot, Mr. Perry looks directly into the camera and says, “That was me six years ago – stumblin’ over number digits and droolin’ mush all over my man bib. But now, with lots of perseverin’ and the help of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I can add some stuffs and eat most things without help. I’ve been fighting this disease my whole life. And when I get to the White House I’ll be fighting for you.”
Many leading physicians are criticizing the Perry campaign for misrepresenting the candidate’s condition. Dr. Jeffrey M. Drazen, editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, said Mr. Perry made up the disease. “There’s no such thing as Cognitive Infantilism,” said Dr. Drazen. “There is something called ‘dumb,’ but the medical community doesn’t consider that to be a disease.”
Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, has already released a new drug they say is effective in fighting Cognitive Infantilism. But critics are pointing out that Pfizer is Mr. Perry’s largest contributor and that Infantilexa, the new drug, was recklessly fast-tracked through the FDA approval process by Tom Breen, Mr. Perry’s former Chief of Staff, who is now a senior official at the Food and Drug Administration. Mr. Perry has reportedly been awarded a multi-million dollar contract by the pharmaceutical conglomerate and will be featured in a series of forthcoming Infantilexa commercials; the first of which, called “Oops”, will begin airing this week.
GOP strategist Karl Rove said the Perry campaign might have miscalculated with its new strategy. “Frankly, I don’t think this Baby Brain strategy is necessary. Perry’s numbers aren’t dropping because he’s dumb, they’re dropping because he’s the only Republican candidate who did not sign the ‘Kill All The Illegals’ pledge,” said Mr. Rove. “Look, I’ll be honest, back when we were gearing up for Bush 2000, we went out and poll tested a special needs strategy. But the Republican focus groups said they didn’t have a problem with dumb people. In fact, what they had a problem with was smart people, who they thought were funny looking and weird and sounded kinda gay.”