It didn't. The Las Vegas debate was Perry's fifth, but the first one in which Perry really showed up to play. That doesn't mean he won, doesn't mean he was particularly likable, doesn't mean he always had cogent answers. But it does mean that Perry, on the verge of being completely written off as a candidate, gave himself a chance to get back in the game.
And Perry, for the first time in any GOP debate, rattled former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. He did it by bringing up a 2007 charge that Romney hired illegal immigrants to do lawn work at his Massachusetts home. Jobs are the magnet for illegal immigrants, Perry said. "And Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year. And the idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you're strong on immigration is on its face the height of hypocrisy."