Gov. Rick Perry knew he wouldn't fare well in the New Hampshire primary. That's why he skipped campaigning in the Granite State and headed straight to South Carolina.
Perry did even worse in New Hampshire than the 1 percent polls had predicted.
Perry didn't even fare as well as the write-in vote. "Other" got 1.3 percent of the vote while Perry got 0.7 percent.
The Texas governor insists he's still a contender, but as an indication of how shallow his popularity is, he could soon be dropped from a debate because he's not pulling enough support.
It would be a blow to the free earned media coverage reaching into other states that his campaign needs.
As all the candidates shift to the South Carolina primary, Perry kept up his attack on Mitt Romney's role at Bain Capital, a venture capital firm that bought companies to later them sell them off — sometimes causing job losses.
"I happen to think that companies like Bain Capital could have come in and helped these companies if they truly were venture capitalists, but they're not — they're vulture capitalists," Perry told voters in Lexington, South Carolina.
But South Carolina's Republican Sen. Jim Demint doesn't like Perry's line, saying on Laura Ingraham's radio show that businesses which succeed and fail are part of the process and gives that kind of talk gives "a lot of fodder" to Democrats.
Romney himself emphasized that point. "President Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial, and in the last few days we've seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him. This is such a mistake for our party," Romney said.
Even Perry has seen no error in the past 11 years, taking more than $7 million in campaign donations from similar private equity companies and investment banks, according to the Texas Tribune.
For now, Perry hopes his attack on the front-runner gives him traction, since any further slide means he gets the hook from debate stages.
CNN says Perry will appear in the January 19 debate amid questions that the network waived its rules to let him in despite his weak showing.
But NBC and the St. Petersburg Times say Perry must finish at least fourth in South Carolina to qualify for a spot in their January 23 debate in Florida.
Not qualifying would be another sign of a dying Perry campaign.