Rick Perry touts Texas economy in presidential campaign announcement

Campaign 2016
by Kent Covington
Posted 6/04/15, 04:30 pm

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign reboot is ready for takeoff. He announced his second Oval Office bid on Thursday from an airplane hangar in the Dallas suburb of Addison, Texas.

After a 2012 campaign in which Perry crashed and burned on a series of debate gaffes, the governor declared this election will be a triumph of substance over style and record over rhetoric.

“We have seen what happens when we elect a president based on media acclaim, rather than a record of accomplishment,” Perry said. “This will be a show-me-don’t-tell-me election where voters look past the rhetoric to the real record.”   

Serving as the backdrop for the announcement was a Lockheed C-130, the same model cargo/transport plane Perry piloted as a captain in the U.S. Air Force. But unlike the aircraft he flew while in uniform, the prop plane behind the governor was emblazoned with a “Perry President” logo to match the seal on his podium.

Perry was flanked by a group of military veterans who joined him on stage. Among them was “lone survivor” Marcus Luttrell, a former Navy Seal who narrowly escaped a battle with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. Perry called Luttrell “a second son.” Taya Kyle, the widow of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle was also on hand, having thrown her support to Perry.

The setting highlighted a renewed focus by the governor’s campaign on his military service as he auditions for the role of commander in chief.

“The world has descended into a chaos of this president’s own making,” Perry said. He chided President Barack Obama for his handling of ISIS and other Islamic terrorist threats, as well as for his administration’s handling of nuclear talks with Iran.

Perry said “no decision has done more harm than the president’s withdrawal of troops from Iraq.” He made clear that leaders of both parties have made “grave mistakes in Iraq”, but he added that when Obama became commander in chief in January 2009, “America had won the war, but our president failed to secure the peace.” Perry lamented that “cities once secured with American blood are now being taken by America’s enemies, all because of a campaign slogan.”

Perry’s disapproval of the Obama administration’s foreign policy hardly sets him apart from the rest of the GOP field, but his jobs record might.

The three-term governor is hoping to do something he was unable to do in his last presidential campaign: capitalize on his state’s nation-leading job creation.

“I’ve led the most successful state in America,” he told supporters on Thursday, adding that during his 14 years as governor, Texas companies created almost one-third of all new American jobs.

“In the last seven years of my tenure, Texas created 1.5 million new jobs,” Perry said. “As a matter of fact, without Texas, America would have lost 400,000 jobs.”

Perry said Texas has been an “engine of growth” because his administration executed a simple strategy. The formula was to control taxes and spending, implement smart regulations, invest in an educated workforce, and stop frivolous lawsuits.

The former governor also vowed to secure the border. He noted that when he felt the Obama administration was sitting on its hands amid mass encroachments of the southern border, he deployed the Texas National Guard to help enforce America’s boundaries.

“And the policy worked,” he said. “Apprehensions declined by 74 percent.”

Perry, 65, served nearly two years as lieutenant governor of Texas before assuming the state’s top office in December 2000 when George W. Bush left the governor’s mansion for the White House. Perry won his first gubernatorial election in 2002. He was reelected in 2006 and 2010 to become the longest-serving governor in Texas history.