Greenland, New Hampshire (CNN) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry kicked off his presidential campaign in the first-in-the-nation primary state with a pro-business message and a healthy dose of Texas wisdom.
A tea party favorite who is making an appeal to both social and fiscal conservatives, Perry highlighted his record of job creation in Texas and accused President Obama of strangling economic growth and increasing the federal government's reach.
"The tax and spend and borrow agenda of this president has led to the first-ever downgrade of the credit of the United States of America," Perry said. "He's been down-grading American jobs. He's been down-grading our standing in the world."
Perry vowed to slash the size of the federal government and hold firm on making the spending cuts necessary to free the nation from debt.
"I'm not going to Washington to be liked," he said. "We will stop spending the money, unless I run out of ink in the veto pen."
The straight-talking politician sprinkled his speech with references to his Texas roots, including addressing the audience as "y'all," and spoke about his childhood, telling the audience he grew up without indoor plumbing and wore clothes hand-sewn by his mother.
Like his predecessor in the governor's mansion, Perry spoke with a strong Texas twang during his remarks at the backyard meet-and-greet, which is likely to prompt comparisons to former President George W. Bush.
Perry's New Hampshire roll-out was hosted at the home of state Rep. Pam Tucker, who serves as deputy speaker of the House. It drew a cross-section of Republicans including tea party activists.
When asked how he would defeat the president, Perry pledged to win with a jobs message.
"Americans aren't interested in a bunch of negative rock throwing and what have you," he said. "They're interested in solutions."
Perry will meet with local officials and attend another event Sunday before flying to Iowa. He returns to New Hampshire with an aggressive series of events later in the week.