Now, maybe the eggheads got it wrong. Or maybe their findings don’t apply to a series of primaries across the nation. Or maybe Perry will turn out to be such a weak candidate that the marginal gain from an improved ad strategy won’t matter. As someone who’s fretted about the prospect of research-informed campaigns outgunning the press, I’d be comforted to learn that Perry’s team doesn’t know as much as they think they know.

But in light of Issenberg’s reporting, there’s every reason to think that the Perry campaign’s slow start on ad spending is the product of a deliberate strategy—which means that it’s not evidence of Perry’s lack of “fire in the belly.”

Which means, in turn, that while it may be useful to ask how ambitious Perry really is, this article doesn’t go far toward providing an answer.

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Greg Marx is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.