Rick Perry's Big Campaign-Cash Haul: Phil Gramm Redux?

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The political world is abuzz today with word of Rick Perry's impressive fundraising. Right after he entered the GOP presidential primary, Perry hauled in $17.1 million.

The cah grab could "counter the perception that his campaign his struggling," the AP says; describing a campaign that is polling behind Herman Cain as "struggling" is like saying the Astros had a bit of trouble in 2011.

So Perry has tons of cash. Let's look at three Texas presidential hopefuls who similarly had eye-popping money:

3. Phil Gramm U.S. Senator Phil Gramm was, perhaps, the most unlikeable modern public personality to ever convince himself people would love to see him as president. As the 1996 GOP primary was warming up, he told a crowd at an elaborate fundraiser "" have the most reliable friend you can have in American politics, and that is ready money." It didn't help.

2. Lloyd Bentsen Another U.S. Senator who saw himself as presidential material, Bentsen tapped all his oil-bidness friends in an attempt to scare off rivals in the wide-open 1976 Democratic primary. In those simpler times, the amounts raised were nowhere near to what candidates rake in today, but Bentsen still managed to amass an impressive campaign chest. It did him as much good as it did Gramm, although we guess you could argue it greased the skids for him receiving the high honor of being Michael Dukakis' vice-presidential running mate.

1. John Connally Richard Nixon was utterly convinced that John Connally would be one of our nation's greatest presidents. Anyone who's read the Robert Caro LBJ books knows Connally had a special talent for attracting under-the-table cash from people dependent on government contracts -- he once mistakenly left a bag filled with what today would be a quarter-million dollars in an Austin cafe -- so he was well-funded when he ran as in the GOP presidential primary in 1980.

He spent anywhere from $10 million to $12 million. He ended up with exactly one delegate, 68-year-old Ada Mills of Arkansas, but we're sure she was worth every penny.

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