Bruce Buchanan, a government professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said Perry was not accustomed to the sort of grilling he received in New Hampshire. "Perry hasn't had to go through a lot of trial by fire in sessions like he might encounter with voters from Iowa and New Hampshire," he said.
"He's a pretty good speaker as long as he's got a friendly crowd," said Buchanan, who studies presidential politics.
One place where Perry expected a friendly response, at least on the sanctuary city issue, was the Texas Legislature, where Republicans control both houses. The bill passed the Senate but died in a House committee, where opponents argued that it contained unfunded mandates: Law enforcement would need more money, jails would have to accommodate more nonviolent offenders, and American children of deported parents would become dependent on the state.