Rick Perry in spotlight at major GOP gathering
June 18th, 2011
11:27 AM ET
4 years ago

Rick Perry in spotlight at major GOP gathering

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) - It's 10 a.m. local time and it's already 89 degrees outside.

Inside, presidential politics will be heating up in a few hours, when Rick Perry will take the stage here at the Republican Leadership Conference 2011.

The longtime governor from neighboring Texas wowed the crowd at this conference last year (when it was held at the same New Orleans hotel), but what's changed since then is that the battle for the GOP nomination is in full swing and Perry is now saying that he's thinking about a bid for the White House (although he acknowledges he thinks about a lot of things). Perry's been sounding like a presidential candidate the past few days, especially in New York City earlier this week, where he headlined a local Republican party dinner.

The conference ends later on Saturday with the results of a Republican presidential nomination straw poll. Voting is open to the approximately 2,000 delegates - GOP activists and other hardcore party supporters from 38 states across the country. Perry and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is also considering a White House bid, are not included on the ballot, but delegates can write in their names.

A number of 2012 presidential contenders, however, are listed in the straw poll. On the ballot are former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. and former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and former Godfather's Pizza CEO and radio talk show host Herman Cain. All are either declared candidates or have announced they will declare their candidacy later this month.

Also on the ballot is Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee has said she's contemplating a bid for the White House, but has not taken any concrete steps to form a campaign. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, who's also thinking of making a run for the GOP nomination, is on the ballot, as is Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, who has taken steps towards a campaign but has not declared.

RLC2011 President and CEO Charlie Davis tells CNN that it was the decision of organizers of the event to not include Perry and Giuliani.

In last year's straw poll, Romney edged Paul by a single vote to win. Paul spoke here yesterday, as did Bachmann, Cain and Santorum. Gingrich spoke Thursday, on the conference's opening day. Huntsman was scheduled to speak but called in sick. Romney and Pawlenty did not attend the gathering.

Davis tells CNN that the straw poll results should be a good indicator of how GOP activists and donors feel about the race for their party's presidential nomination.

– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Coffee Party Member

    Politicians are politicians. They are doing what they are only good at.

    June 18, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Adalbert

    This religious fanatic is under the thumb of the religious right. And as all fanatics, he is extremely dangerous.

    June 18, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. mama panda

    Can someone explain why on earth anyone would vote for a man who has proposed that his state secede from the country he's now thinking about running? How two-faced do we want our candidates to be?

    June 18, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. OneMoreTime

    He "WOWed" us here too. He just vetoed a bill that would have made texting and receiving messages while driving illegal.
    It is already illegal here for school zones, 18 and under, and in three major cities. But, the reason he gave "raises
    eyebrows". He saw it as "a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults". Wow.

    June 18, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. Surry

    "I'm the Teabaggiest Republican." "No, I'm the Teabaggiest Republican." 300 million people in this country and this pathetic bunch is the best they can cobble together?

    June 18, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. 14Mickey

    The vast number of candidates for the Republican nomination has prevented any of them from getting much name recognition. The media seems to favor Romney although he's a weak candidate with nothing original to say, based on the recent debate. Rick Perry is one of many people who most Americans have never heard of, likely to continue with all the competition. If the economy returns to the slow recovery of last fall by this time next year, Obama is likely to get another landslide.

    June 18, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. Byrd

    Anyone who saw his appearance on the Daily Show knows for certain that Perry's a complete nitwit. His intellect extends no further than throwing out one buzzword after another and then siting back to beam into the cameras to the applause of idiots.

    June 18, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    the red/blue party is in pure chaos
    they can't find anyone that will beat Dr Ron
    so they keep rolling out new puppets every few days

    June 18, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. New SunriseComing

    I want Obama gone but Perry is not the man to do it. He will not even win his home state.

    June 18, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. WiseLady

    I wonder if the religious folks at this conference are aware of Perry’s skimpy donations to his church? According to a June 12 story from the San Antonio Express-News: “Perry has not overburdened the collection plate–Governor's modest religious donations are raising eyebrows”, perry plays up his faith with speeches at prayer breakfasts and inviting the nation's governors to a prayer meeting, etc. YET rick perry doesn’t seem too fond of church tithing. From this piece:

    “Perry's top income year since becoming governor came in 2007 when he reported $1,092,810 in adjusted gross income ..... His total charitable cash contributions that year totaled $413.”

    I could NEVER trust this guy or anything he says.

    June 18, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    Perry threatened to secede from the Union – he's a traitor and is completely unfit to even THINK about leading our great nation!

    June 18, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Big_D

    The GOP is racing father to the right. They think they can cut taxes with a deficit and cut Medicare and Social Security into an election. The only person their platform makes sense to is the Saudi that owns FOX and runs the GOP Alwaleed. How he is Saudi and dictates news and the GOP is a fail on the FCC's part. Saudis running a political party in the USA is disgusting.

    June 18, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. Marie MD

    Nice to know that all these so-called right wing patriots think that two of their candidates are not traitors (perry and the AK what's her face).
    petty can think all he wants. Texas is going bankrupt and he is still the garbage left behind when the shrub was appointed by the farts of the sotus to be the worst president in the history of our country. Let munchinson comfort him. They seem to be extremely close.

    June 18, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. Mike in Texas

    You don't want this guy as President....trust me. He is the poster boy for term limits. Look up the Texas trans corridor, using private land to build...also look up how Perry wanted to force 12 year old girls to get vaccinated for a non contagious cervical disease. Texas is in debt and isn't as rosy as everyone thinks it is.

    June 18, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. Tubby the Tuba TEXAS

    Perry has to cover up his and his cohorts misdoings in Texas as they try to balance a 27+ Billion Dollar shortage in Texas on the backs of the hard working teachers of the state. Perry and his Repuglicans are pushing to become #50 in health care and Education. Of course this won't be mentioned at the rally as the good ol boys whoop it up in New Orleans. The state's unemployment will sky rocket this coming August when the thousands of teachers and administrators lose all their benefits because of the Repuglicans. Like most of the Republican run states, he and his cohorts have mandated that teachers lose professional rights, allowing for teachers to be furloughed for six days, and to strip them of wages at will. Too, the Republican platform seems to be rubbing our NASA as an industry....no more support for space flight...no NPR so goodbye to the fine arts. You, your family and your jobs could be next!

    June 18, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. B

    This is the same one that was talking of Secession on one hand and complaining about no support from the Government when he needs it..

    Idiot

    June 18, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I'm still waiting on Rick Perry's promise that Texas will sucede from the Union if things don't go his way. What will Perry tell our military troops from Texas that they aren't fighting for the U.S. because he suceded Texas from the Union.

    June 18, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Ralphie

    I'm surprised you remembered to mention Gary Johnson.

    June 18, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. bb

    Laughable.

    June 18, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Dean,co

    Welcome to the new America?? The working class will be 100% "Corporate Ruled" Your wages will be capped? No insurance,and no protection!!!! Rick Perry is your man!!! Romney is unemployed? Poor man???? Lets all vote to "Sell America??????? WOW! Scarry?

    June 18, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Stephen in Bedford, Texas

    Texas has had a lot of stupid politicians and Perry may be one of the worst. To be sure, he is a shrewd campaigner with a lot of appeal to the wacko wing of the GOP, however, he would be far, far more embarrassing to our country than George Bush ever thought of being. I only hope that the rest of the country is smarter than the Texas Republicans who keep electing these idiots who long for the days of six shooters and hangin' trees.

    June 18, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. AndyG

    I live in Texas. I know Rick Perry. I know what he has done to this state. God help us all if he ever becomes President.

    June 18, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Judas

    The far right just isn’t going to be happy until they have that clown car completely filled with unqualified extremists who are determined to move our country back about 100 years. As for pretty boy Perry and the not-so-wonderful state that he governs, start looking past the PR talking points and begin peeling back the layers and you’ll see a state that has more than its share of problems; very low scores for healthcare and education, a deteriorating infrastructure that can’t keep pace with growth, and mounting budgetary issues. For somebody that has governed Texas for a record setting 10 ½ years, he sure hasn’t done much to improve the quality of life for its citizens and assured a better life for future generations. And they want this clown to run for POTUS? No thanks!

    June 18, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |