On Friday, Politico’s Ben Smith reported that George Will’s wife, Mari Maseng, started working for Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign, with the goal of improving his debating skills.
Will addressed the possible conflict-of-interest on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” Sunday.
“For more than 30 years, my wife, Mari, has been in the political business,” Will said. “She was a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan’s campaign and in his White House, she was his last White House director of communications. As part of her profession, which is to consult with businesses and congenial political candidates, she has been in the political business off-and-on for 30 years. On last Monday, she became part of the Perry campaign, specializing in messaging and debate preparation.”
Will chalked up any criticism as coming from the “less mature members of the Romney campaign” and noted a recent amicable encounter between his wife and Romney.
“That’s what she is there for, to fix things,” Will said, referring to Perry’s recent less-than-stellar debate performances. “Some of the more excitable and perhaps less mature members of the Romney campaign have tried to make this personal. At the Michigan debate, after the debate, Mari waved a hand to Mitt Romney. They came over and talked. They’ve been guests at our dinner table. And Romney gave her a kiss on the cheek. And they went their separate ways. They’re both mature professionals.”
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As for Perry’s chances, Will reminded viewers that even President Barack Obama committed gaffes on the campaign trail.
“[H]is poll numbers are down. He had a steep climb before Wednesday night. The climb got steeper,” Will said, referring to Perry’s much-lampooned brain freeze at the recent CNBC GOP primary debate. “But I would remind you that in in the 2008 campaign, a presidential candidate gave a speech in Oregon in which he said, ‘I visited all 57 states and have 1 more to go.’ That man is in the White House.”