Rick Perry launches ads in Iowa, hires GOP top guns

Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Perry, center left, walks to a truck Saturday Oct. 22, 2011, before a hunting trip near Merrill, Iowa. About a half-dozen Republican candidates and about 1,000 evangelical activists plan to attend Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition in Des Moines Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, as the Republican presidential campaign continues its search for a more conservative alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver)
Dave Weaver
Rick Perry
Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Perry, center left, walks to a truck Saturday Oct. 22, 2011, before a hunting trip near Merrill, Iowa.
AP Photo/Dave Weaver

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

Rick Perry's presidential campaign officially announced six new staffers Monday, a list replete with longtime GOP officials and presidential veterans recruited to help reinvigorate the Texas governor's sputtering bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

The list is highlighted by Joe Allbaugh, President George W. Bush's campaign manager in 2000 and former director of FEMA. He, along with Tony Fabrizio, who served as the pollster for the 1996 presidential campaign of former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kansas, and longtime GOP hand Fred Maas, will serve as as senior advisers to the Texas governor's campaign. Joining the campaign's media team are ex-Dole spokesman Nelson Warfield, former RNC political director Curt Anderson, and Republican consultant Jim Innocenzi.

"I am honored to have these experienced professionals joining our growing campaign team," Perry said in a statement. "These experienced advisors will play an instrumental role in helping me share my vision to get America working again with the nation, and I am proud to have their support as our campaign expands."

The announcement comes the same day news broke Perry will begin airing the first ads of his presidential campaign in Iowa this week. Both moves are part of an effort to boost a campaign that has plummeted in the polls after a series of poor debate performances raised questions about Perry's electability and conservative credentials.

Up until now, Perry has relied largely on longtime aides such as media consultant David Weeks, who helped bring him to the GOP in 1989, chief strategist Dave Carney, campaign manager Rob Johnson, pollster Mike Baselice, and spokesman Mark Miner. The tight-knit group had helped guide Perry through three successful gubernatorial re-elections in Texas, including a contentious race against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson last year.

None of them will be displaced by the new additions, according to campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan. "It's not a shakeup," said Sullivan. "We have been running a very lean operation in terms of personnel. It is natural for the campaign to augment along the way."

But, for the first time, Perry is reaching outside of his inner circle to a group of aides with more national experience. One Perry adviser, who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak publicly about the campaign, said that the campaign always had a plan to bring in help for Weeks but that the Texas governor's plummeting poll numbers added urgency to the decision.

Fabrizio, Anderson and Warfield each helped Florida Gov. Rick Scott achieve his come-from-behind victory in 2010, giving Perry a potential leg up in an important battleground state that holds its potentially pivotal primary on Jan. 31.

Their hiring is "a very good development for Perry," said Greg Mueller, a GOP consultant who worked with all three on Scott's gubernatorial campaign.

"These guys are like a family political unit and they know how to win," Mueller said. "They are savvy political veterans who understand GOP primary voters and work extremely well together when it comes to developing and executing a campaign strategy. That type of cohesiveness is critical in any campaign, but particularly so in presidential campaigns."

Jim O'Sullivan and Beth Reinhard contributed to this report.

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    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.