Perry noted at the beginning of his speech: "It is great to be at RedState. And I’ll tell you what, it’s even better to be governor of the largest red state in America." He did not mention, however, that he once worked to make Texas a blue state. In 1988, he served as Texas chairman of Democrat Al Gore's presidential bid. The following year, he joined the Republican Party. He became Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1999 and Governor in 2000.
In his speech in Charleston, the latest Republican to throw his hat into the presidential ring described his vision for America:
As Americans, we don’t see the role of government as guaranteeing outcomes, but allowing free men and women to flourish based on their own vision, their hard work and their personal responsibility. And as Americans, we realize there is no taxpayer money that wasn’t first earned by the sweat and toil of one of our citizens.
That’s why we reject this President’s unbridled fixation on taking more money out of the wallets and pocketbooks of American families and employers and giving it to a central government. "Spreading the wealth" punishes success while setting America on course to greater dependency on government.
Washington’s insatiable desire to spend our children’s inheritance on failed "stimulus" plans and other misguided economic theories have given us record debt and left us with far too many unemployed.
"Spreading the wealth" did not start with the Obama administration, of course. In 2008, President George W. Bush successfully lobbied to get the $700 billion TARP bailout though Congress. Perry has since spoken out against this huge transfer-the-wealth program benefiting mega banks and financial corporations, but he was arguably for the TARP bailout before he was against it. On September 1, 2008, when the TARP bailout was being considered by Congress, Perry, as president of the Republican Governors Association, joined his Democrat counterpart, Governor Joe Manchin of West Virginia, in co-authoring a letter to congressional leaders saying: "As leaders of our respective organizations, we don't always see eye to eye on policy, but we come together today with one clear purpose. We strongly urge Congress to leave partisanship at the door and pass an economic recovery package." But the letter did not explicitly mention the TARP bailout, and Perry said later he was thinking of legislation outside of TARP.
In his Charleston speech, Perry also voiced his strong opposition to the President's healthcare legislation also known as ObamaCare:
In America, the people are not subjects of government. The government is subject to the people. And it is up to us, to this present generation of Americans, to take a stand for freedom, to send a message to Washington that we’re taking our future back from the grips of central planners who would control our healthcare, who would spend our treasure, who downgrade our future and micro-manage our lives.
It is time to limit and simplify the taxes in this country. We have to quit spending money we don’t have. We need to get our fiscal house in order and restore our good credit. And we will repeal this President’s misguided, one-size-fits-all government healthcare plan immediately.
However, as the Daily Caller has pointed out, "Perry is a staunch opponent of Obamacare, but he has one Romney-like skeleton in his closet. In 2007, he signed an executive order mandating that girls in Texas get vaccinated against human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer. But the vaccine is largely untested, and even the FDA has ruled that it could have harmful effects and shouldn’t be approved for public use until more tests are conducted." Perry's order even directed that the vaccine be given free of charge to girls who did not have insurance coverage for vaccines. Perry's executive decree kicked up such a firestorm of controversy that the Texas legislature nullified it.
Regarding foreign policy, Perry said in Charleston:
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.
He added: "Look, it’s pretty simple: we’re going to stand with those who stand with us, and we will vigorously defend our interests."
Referring to his leadership as Governor of Texas, Perry claimed,
We have led Texas based on some just really pretty simple guiding principles. One is don’t spend all of the money. Two is keeping the taxes low and under control. Three is you have your regulatory climate fair and predictable. Four is reform the legal system so frivolous lawsuits don’t paralyze employers that are trying to create jobs.
Governor Haley gave no clues as to whom she will endorse in the presidential race. Her state will hold the nation’s first-in-the-South primary in February. “He has a hope for America that is great,” Haley said of Perry. “But I think the field is wide open. I think it’s anybody’s game at this point.”
This is Perry's first bid for the presidency. In the last presidential elections, he initially endorsed Rudy Giuliani for President; after Giuliani withdrew from the race, Perry endorsed John McCain.
Photo of Gov. Rick Perry: AP Images