CNN's Peter Hamby on the Texas governor's efforts to retrench and reassure.
As he faces growing scrutiny about his conservative credentials, Texas Gov. Rick Perry called grassroots activists in the key early states of Iowa and South Carolina on Monday evening to address his record and take questions.
The Perry campaign conducted two "tele-town halls," dialing into the homes of targeted GOP voters across both states and asking them to hold for the governor.
.... The candidate immediately set about defending his record on three issues that have come to define his campaign in recent weeks: immigration, Social Security, and his 2007 executive order mandating that school girls be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer.
"He said, 'You all have heard a lot of things out there, so let me set the record straight,'" said the source who was on the South Carolina call.
That's big. Iowa and South Carolina are Perry's best shots, and it's hard to see him winning the nomination without winning those two states.