If it isn't, it's darn close:
How rough were those past debate performances for Rick Perry? Rough enough that brand-new NBC News-Marist polls show the Texas governor is in fourth place (or tied for it) in both Iowa and New Hampshire. The Iowa result is even more troublesome for Perry, since it's so important for his path to the GOP nomination. So not only do all the national polls show him losing ground to Mitt Romney -- and now Herman Cain, too -- but polls in the early nominating states show the same result. And that's why tonight's Republican debate (and the other ones for the rest of the year) is so important for Perry. It's do-or-die time for him; nobody has more riding on his or her debate performance. Tonight's debate, sponsored by Bloomberg and the Washington Post, begins at 8:00 pm ET from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.
Perry needs something - a moment, a comment, even a witty aside - to stop the bleeding and restart his campaign. And it's got to come at the debates where a lot of Republican primary voters are watching.
He's not out of it. This time in 2008, John McCain's campaign obit was being written. But another poor debate performance won't help his cause.