The poor performance of Rick Perry in Thursday night's GOP debate has upset senior Democrats no end.

They had been licking their lips at the prospects of facing Perry in the general election.

His talk about Texas seceding from the union, of calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme had gladdened the hearts of Obama staffers as they imagined a debate between the two men.

Now it looks like 'steady as she goes' Romney is ready to take back the role of favorite.

Romney is the one opponent that Obama fears in this election.

He has not quite got into bed with the worst of the basket case Tea Party extremists and has retained a centrist appeal beyond the lunatic fringes.

What Democrats are most worried about is a Romney/Rubio ticket.

Senator Marco Rubio is the Florida incumbent who has energized Latinos in that state to vote for him.

A candidate who can cut into the solidly Democratic Hispanic voting block for Republicans would be huge.

That vote went overwhelmingly to Obama last time out.

But he has failed to deliver on immigration reform and Rubio, as a Hispanic, would have a hugely popular appeal to the Hispanic base.

The fact that he is from the key state of Florida would also mean that geographically, he is a perfect fit for East Coast and Utah Romney.

Democrats will be hoping Governor Perry makes a comeback and quick, but he may already have permanently damaged his prospects.