Source: Jindal convinced Perry to oust trusted adviser

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
Font Size:

A well-placed source who worked on Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign tells The Daily Caller that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and his staff helped convince the one-time GOP front-runner to oust his trusted strategist Dave Carney.

“You cannot question Governor Jindal’s influence with Governor Perry. He definitely played a big part,” said the source. (Worth noting is that one of the men brought on to replace Carney was Jindal’s close adviser, Curt Anderson, who also co-wrote Jindal’s book “Leadership in Crisis.”)

The shakeup took place in October 2011, and an attempt was made to downplay the significance of Carney’s ouster. But it was a big deal. Carney had been with Perry since 1998, when he helped Perry win a tough lieutenant governor’s race. “I don’t really know what happened, honestly. It just happened. It was an evolutionary process,” Carney told TheDC in January.

Speaking of the coup, our Perry postmortem also revealed skepticism over whether a gay Perry adviser approved of the controversial anti-gay ad the campaign ran just prior to Iowa.

The ad, which attacked President Obama for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” stoked criticism and outrage when it went viral last December. Outraged by the ad, Jimmy LaSalvia of the Republican gay group GOProud outed Perry pollster Tony Fabrizio.

At the time, Perry operative Nelson Warfield defended Fabrizio, insisting he had been “against it from the get-go” and that he called the ad “nuts.”

But to many, this strained credulity, and multiple sources indicate that Fabrizio approved of the ad. “[Fabrizio] and Nelson [Warfield] were thick as thieves on every single one of the controversial moves we made,” said a source who worked on the campaign.

Regardless, the fact that Perry essentially had one campaign being of Washington — and another “zombie” campaign in Texas — was obviously problematic. Communication is key to any campaign, and when high-level staffers are cut out of the loop by advisers calling the shots, bad things happen.

“The anti-gay ad is probably one of the low points of our campaign,” said one source who worked in Texas. “The core team in Austin — none of us knew about that ad until the day before it was going to run.”

Update: Jindal adviser Timmy Teepell tweeted me to say the story isn’t true.