- (Photo: Reuters/Maryann Chastaine)
The speculation is over. Texas Governor Rick Perry officially entered the GOP presidential race on Saturday at the RedState Gathering in Charleston, S.C. Perry’s entry ends months of guessing on when or if he was going to throw his hat into the ring.
“Howdy,” said Perry in his Texas drawl as he took the podium a few minutes after 1 p.m. EST in Charleston. Perry, showing emotion, first paused and asked those in attendance for a moment of silence for the soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
Perry’s campaign wasted little time Saturday in touting the reasons why he was entering the race. Earlier in the day it posted an article on its campaign website outlining his platform and what he hopes to accomplish if elected.
“What I learned in my 20s traveling the globe as an Air Force pilot, our current president has yet to acknowledge in his 50s – that we are the most exceptional nation on the face of the earth,” the statement began. “We will not sit back and accept our current misery … because a great country requires a better direction … because a renewed nation requires a new president. “
Several hours before the GOP Presidential debate in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday, Perry aides leaked information saying that he would “definitely” be making an official announcement on Saturday in South Carolina.
The timing of the leak, combined with the fact Perry would be making his official announcement on the day of the Iowa Straw Poll, raised eyebrows.
However, some political pundits think the timing of Perry’s announcement is ideal and will accomplish his objective of turning attention from the other declared candidates and instead, focus the spotlight on himself and his experience as governor of Texas.
The pro-Perry crowd gathered in Charleston applauded as the Texas Governor talked about turning around the rising unemployment rate and cutting excessive spending in Washington.
“It’s time to get American working again. It’s time to give a pink slip to the current residents of the White House,” Perry exclaimed. “We balanced our budget [in Texas], not by raising taxes, but by cutting spending.”
Perry spent the majority of his time taking about the fiscal ills of America. But he also addressed what he considered the failed healthcare policies of the Obama administration.
“We will repeal this President’s one size fits all healthcare plan.”
“I know something. America is not broken; Washington, DC is broken. A renewed nation needs a new President. Therefore, I declare for you today that I’m a candidate for President of the United States,” Perry enthusiastically said in making his campaign official.
Perry has a reputation of being an aggressive fundraiser and has been laying the ground work by putting together a nationwide fundraising network of key donors and Republican contributors, said a donor who has been asked to play a major finance role in the campaign but requested not to be identified.
“Rick Perry will have the money he needs and he’ll see it quickly,” said the donor. “There is a lot of money that has been sitting in bank accounts and you’ll see it starting to flow into the Perry coffers now that the campaign is official.”
Perry, 61, plans to travel to New Hampshire later today and then to Iowa on Sunday.