Perry and Romney at Debate
Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann and President Obama are all contenders for PolitiFacts 2011 "Lie of the Year" award. Reuters

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been a punching bag for his GOP presidential rivals, taking 39 blows over the last four debates, according to an analysis.

University of Minnesota's Smart Politics broke down the number of critical comments each candidate received and doled out in presidential debates from September and October.

Perry, who jumped into the presidential race as an early frontrunner, was a magnate for attacks, far outpacing the amount of criticism his fellow GOP contenders received.

And the hits came from all sides. For instance, Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota Congresswoman, criticized Perry seven times, mainly on his ill-fated HPV-vaccination mandate. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman also got in seven critical comments.

But Perry's main competitor for the GOP nomination at the time, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, was the most critical, with 13 remarks.

The Texan, however, was no slouch at tossing jabs back at Romney. Perry made a dozen critical remarks toward the former Massachusetts governor. Perry criticized Romney's job creation record while governor and the changes in his policy positions.

The attacks on Perry may have worked. He is no longer the big elephant in the presidential race he once was, now lagging in polls behind Herman Cain, a former CEO of a pizzeria chain.

The candidates listed below in the rows made attacks during debates, while candidates listed in columns were on the receiving end of the attacks.

Number of Verbal Attacks Made and Received by Each Candidate During the Last Four Republican Debates (September-October, 2011)


Note: Attacks made by each candidate are designated in rows; attacks received by each candidate are designated in columns. Data compiled by Smart Politics.