Progress Texas takes quick-hit approach to spreading old Perry news to new voters

When it became clear, months ago, that Gov. Rick Perry was headed for a presidential run, Matt Glazer and Mark Corcoran at Progress Texas — no fans of Texas’ longest-serving governor — reacted to the news the way you might if, say, you found out you needed 10 fillings. Or your boss threw a can of SpaghettiOs at your head. Or your kids pulled your pants down at the circus.


At, the liberal activist group is gathering all the factoids they can find about the troubled state of Texas after a decade under Perry’s watch, and spitting them out on Twitter with the #PerryFML hashtag.

Since the weekend, as Rick Perry’s rising star carried @RickPerryFacts and TwitPics of the governor eating a corn dog along with it, #PerryFML has been swept up too.

The Perry facts in rotation include:

Peter Wagner endorsed Perry’s “Response.” He advocates putting the gov’t under christian rule & burning statues of catholic saints #PerryFML

Rick Perry’s 2011 budget cut funding for the Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program #PerryFML

“We just did a shallow hit on what his record is — we wanted to make it something that’s easy to share,” said Glazer, the group’s executive director.

“We sort of expected it to be a very slow build,” Glazer said, but within days of Perry’s announcement that he’d launch a campaign, he said, they saw the hashtag take off. “What we expected to be a couple month-long process and really not be used till 2012, it started in 48 hours.”

Each day this week, Glazer said, they’ve maxed out the 1,500-tweet limit on the free Hashtracking account that let them follow the #PerryFML wave. Just based on those hits, though, Corcoran said they’re getting 1.8 million impressions.

“It seems to be targeted inside of Texas, but there also seems to be a small focus of people inside early swing primary states,” Glazer said, like Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire.

The idea came from a site that touts President Barack Obama’s overlooked accomplishments in office, Glazer said, and they decided Perry was ripe for a similar treatment.

After Perry uttered his now-famous “we would treat him pretty ugly” line about Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke, Glazer said he saw it first on his #PerryFML feed.

“People have been using it as an organizing tool,” he said, which is what they’d hoped to see eventually, even if it took a few months. Progress Texas adds five or six new facts to the site a day, but more and more, folks are adding their own.

“We always talk about things going viral like this, but it’s funny when it actually happens,” Corcoran said.

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