No doubt ruffling some feathers among the other GOP primary candidates who are busy in Iowa today hoping for a top three placement in the famous Iowa straw poll, Perry delivered a rousing speech taking the fight directly to Barack Obama. There was no sniping at other Republicans in the race.
Perry began the speech with "Howdy" and then went on to ask for a moment of silent reflection on the SEALs bravery and the loss recently of some of our finest.
And I want to take a moment and ask you to just take a silence, think about those young Navy SEALs and the other special operators who gave it all in the service of their country. Just take a moment to say Thank you, Lord, that we have those kind of selfless, sacrificial men and women. Their sacrifice was immeasurable, their dedication profound, and we will never, ever forget them.
On the economy he hit back at the premise that we are in recovery mode:
But of course, now we’re told we are in recovery. Yeah.
But this sure doesn’t feel like a recovery to more than nine percent of Americans out there who are unemployed, or the sixteen percent of African Americans and 11 percent of Hispanics in the same position, or the millions more who can only find part-time work, or those who have stopped even looking for a job.
One in six work-eligible Americans cannot find a full-time job. That is not a recovery. That is an economic disaster.
If you think about it, for those Americans who do have full-time jobs, they aren’t experiencing economic recovery with the rising fuel costs and the food prices that are going up. Recovery is a meaningless word if the bank has foreclosed on your home, if you are under water on your mortgage, or if you are up to the max on your credit card debt. Those Americans know that this President and his big-spending, big-government policies have prolonged our national misery, not alleviated it.
Then on foreign policy:
America’s standing in the world is in peril, not only because of disastrous economic policies, but from the incoherent muddle that they call foreign policy. Our president has insulted our friends and he’s encouraged our enemies, thumbing his nose at traditional allies like Israel. He seeks to dictate new borders for the Middle East and the oldest democracy there, Israel, while he is an abject failure in his constitutional duty to protect our borders in the United States.
His foreign policy seems to be based on alienating our traditional allies, while basing our domestic agenda on importing those failed Western European social values. We don’t need a president who apologizes for America. We need a president who protects and projects those values.
Look, it’s pretty simple: we’re going to stand with those who stand with us, and we will vigorously defend our interests. And those who threaten our interests, harm our citizens – we will simply not be scolding you, we will defeat you.
Some on his record in Texas:
Over the years, we have followed this recipe to produce the strongest economy in the nation. Since June of 2009, Texas is responsible for more than 40 percent of all of the new jobs created in America.
Now think about that. We’re home to less than 10 percent of the population in America, but forty percent of all the new jobs were created in that state.
I’ve cut taxes. I have delivered historic property tax reductions. I was the first governor since World War II to cut general revenue spending in our state budget. We passed lawsuit reform, including just this last session a “loser pays” law to stop the frivolous lawsuits that were happening.
And I know I’ve talked a lot about Texas here in the last little bit. I’m a Texan and proud of it. But first, and foremost, I’m an incredibly proud American.
And then the most anticipated part:
It is time to get America working again. And that’s why, with the support of my family, and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today as a candidate for President of the United States.
We are Americans, he said. We fix things. And also a nod to Margaret Thatcher:
We do not have to accept our current circumstances. We will change them. We are Americans. That’s what we do. We roll up our sleeves. We go to work. We fix things.
We stand up and proudly proclaim that Washington is not our caretaker and we reject the state that, in Margaret Thatcher’s words, she said a state that takes too much from us in order to do too much for us. We will not stand for that any longer.
Lots of red meat in this speech and the crowd ate it up. Chants of "Perry, Perry, Perry" erupted at the formal declaration and then he closed with this:
And I’ll promise you this: I’ll work every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can. And at the same time, we’ll be freeing our families and small businesses and states from the burdensome and costly federal government so those groups can create, innovate and succeed.
I believe in America. I believe in Her purpose and Her promise. I believe Her best days have not yet been lived. I believe Her greatest deeds are reserved for the generations to come. With the help and the courage of the American people, we will get our country working again. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.
The Chicago political machine at Obama re-election headquarters was quick to pounce on Governor Perry's announcement:
Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt:
Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt:
“Governor Perry’s economic policies are a carbon copy of the economic policies of Washington Republicans. He pledged to support the cut cap and balance plan that would preserve subsidies for oil and gas companies and tax cuts for the wealthiest while ending Medicare as we know it, eroding Social Security, eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs and erasing investments in education and research and development.
“That’s the same approach he took in Texas, where middle class families know his economic record is no miracle – it’s a tall tale. Governor Perry allowed special interests to write their own rules, hired corporate lobbyists to oversee corporations, and cut funding for programs that would create opportunity for middle class families.
“In a Republican field that has already pledged allegiance to the Tea Party and failed to present any plan that will benefit the middle class or create the jobs America needs to win the future, Governor Perry offers more of the same.”
Yea. They are nervous. Game on.