New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) – As speculation mounts about his presidential ambitions, Texas Gov. Rick Perry delivered a rousing and unapologetic defense of conservative principles on Saturday at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.
Perry repeatedly brought an audience of hundreds of Republican activists to their feet with a small government message reminiscent of the one that helped him win an unprecedented third term as governor last November.
Perry said there is "too much spending, too much interfering and too much apologizing" in Washington.
"Stand up!," Perry thundered. "Let's speak with pride about our morals and our values and redouble our effort to elect more conservative Republicans. Let's stop this American downward spiral!"
Perry made no mention of his political plans and avoided the media by slipping out the back of the hotel where the conference was held following his speech.
But it was clear that the governor was positioning himself as a conservative heavyweight with a credible economic record should he decide to join the crowded Republican presidential field.
He has said he will make a decision after Texas wraps up legislative business at the end of the month.
At one point, Perry asked the audience to take out their phones and text the word "Forward" to a number linked to his political organization, capturing their contact information in the event of a future campaign.
He sounded right at home when speaking about social issues that many Republican primary voters hold dear.
"When it comes to conservative social issues, it saddens me when sometimes my fellow Republicans duck and cover in the face of pressure from the left," he said, without naming names.
And a day after Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour spoke here and urged Republicans not to get hung up on "purity" or ideology when choosing a presidential nominee, Perry said the party should never capitulate on its principles.
"Our party cannot be all things to all people," he said. "It can't be. Our loudest opponents on the left are never going to like us, so let's stop trying to curry favor with them."
Perry took a moment to "brag a little bit on Texas conservative values."
Under his watch, he said, Texas has created nearly 50 percent of the nation's jobs over the last two years and balanced the state budget (though he did not mention that the state used federal stimulus money to plug a big budget hole).
He listed a simple four-point recipe for a health economy: "don't spend all the money," keep taxes low, maintain a fair and predictable regulatory climate, and reform the legal system to prevent frivolous lawsuits.
When Perry left the stage after his 20-minute address, the crowd showered him with chants of "Run, Rick, Run!"
Be careful what you ask for ....from a Dallas Texan
As a retired military member, I find this man useless, Perry is the same traitor who said Texas should secede for the Union. He should tried by a military tribunal and sentenced to firing squad.
Texas lawmakers have become a Christian Taliban, shoving their fringe views down the throats of the state's taxpayers. Perry can't balance his budget without Obama bailing him out. Their prison system executes people who are shown to not be guilty.
Why does Texas so resemble Afganistan?
Go ahead and take your state and leave. The rest of us can survive without you but we will take our military bases and NASA so you aren'y botheredf by having so many educated federal employees paying taxes in your backward state!
Another embarrassment. I can't believe this man has the lack of sense to run. But us people in Texas well know his shortcomings. Our only problem is we keep getting something worse to run against him. OH! I didn't think about that. then he does have a chance. LOOK, it's Obama the beanhead he's running against.
OUT OF NINE LOUISIANA STRAW POLL CANDIDATES, CHECK OUT THE BOTTOM FOUR.
6th place = Newt Gingrich
7th place = Sarah Palin
8th place = Rick Santorum
9th place = Tim Pawlenty
Did you notice that Rick Perry did not garnish a single vote? Maybe because the GOP knows that he is the wackiest of the wackos.
Is American better off than we were two and half years ago? NObama.
Vote Republican in 2012.
Blah, blah, blah. Nothing but pablum for the GOP masses. Texas has one of weakest governorship's in the nation. We've recently seen what kind of presidential material Texas produces. No thanks.