Perry: Sharp contrast needed with Obama in 2012
September 14th, 2011
03:55 PM ET
3 years ago

Perry: Sharp contrast needed with Obama in 2012

Richmond, Virginia (CNN) - Rick Perry's unapologetic conservative rhetoric about the role of government has raised questions about his viability in a general election.

But on Wednesday the Texas governor said the Republican Party should pick a presidential nominee who is as philosophically different from President Barack Obama as possible.

"We don't need to elect a nominee who is going to blur the lines between this administration and the Republican Party," Perry said during remarks at a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Virginia. "We need a nominee who draws a distinct and clear contrast. And I will tell you one thing, President Obama and I have a clear contrast."

The last GOP presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, faced criticism by some conservatives after his 2008 loss for failing to draw a sharper contrast with Barack Obama and depressing Republican turnout on Election Day.

Perry boasted about his record of job creation in Texas and promised that the Republican base will be fired up if he becomes the party's standard-bearer in 2012.

And when asked by a reporter if he would offer a more distinct contrast with Obama than his chief GOP rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Perry said yes.

"There is not any doubt, when you look at the job creation record in Massachusetts when he was governor," Perry said, pausing to praise Romney's experience in the private sector. "Let's face it, Michael Dukakis created jobs at three times the rate annually than what Mitt did as governor."

In his speech, Perry pointed to Tuesday's GOP special election upset in New York's 9th Congressional District and said that President Obama's "tax and spend agenda is re-energizing Republicans."

"It is time for a change in this country," he said to a standing ovation from the more than 1,000 party activists who attended the luncheon. "When I talk about change, I am not talking about the rhetoric of change, I am talking about a record of change. And I've got that record."

Perry was introduced by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who worked closely with Perry at the Republican Governors Association before Perry stepped down from the chairmanship to run for president.

McDonnell took over the top spot at the RGA and has said he will not endorse a presidential candidate until this year's elections conclude in November, but it was clear he held Perry in high regard.

He said Perry has built Texas into the "envy of the nation" when it comes to job creation.

As the party faithful waited to enter the ballroom at the Richmond Convention Center, several attendees said they were excited to see the Republican frontrunner but admitted they still had questions about his record.

Geneva Young, a retiree from Mechanicsville, called herself a strong Perry supporter but said she was unaware until Monday night's CNN debate that he signed a bill in Texas granting in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants.

"I am afraid that will hurt him among some conservatives," she said. "I hope it doesn't, but I think it will."

One self-described tea party activist, Aubrey Tatum from Amelia County, said Perry has a bad habit of "shooting his mouth off too quick."

"It's not that he isn't telling the truth, it's that he isn't exactly saying it the right way," she said.

That wasn't exactly the case after the speech, when Perry spoke to reporters and demonstrated a kind of message discipline that was lacking in the early days of his campaign.

After each question - about his general election chances, about his appeal to Hispanic voters, about federal disaster funding - Perry repeatedly pivoted back to the issues of jobs and spending.

He said the "job-killing, tax-raising, regulatory burdensome" Obama administration is definitively "on the ropes."

Chris Saxman, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates who co-chaired McCain's campaign in the state in 2008, said Perry appears to be learning from some of his early mis-steps, like his threatening talk about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

"His initial gaffes have not been repeated which I think shows an extraordinary ability to learn from his mistakes," Saxman said. "In a campaign that's not easy to do when you are the alpha male on the campaign."


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Gov. Perry may try to sell the spin that he needs to contrast himself with Obama. The truth of the matter is that he needs to contrast himself with former President George W. Bush. Bush and Perry have too many simularities to ignore. But, I don't think you will hear Democrats pointing them out until Perry looks like he'll be the Republican nominee, which would be a mistake.

    The DNC attacked Romney. They should attack Perry at this time, too. I sure would. I would put out ads describing what his policies will be, which will be exactly like GWB's. Put Perry on the defensive before he goes on the offensive.

    September 14, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Liberal Elite = Anyone with an education...

    "As philisophically different from Obama as possible" – in other words as philisophically identical to Bush as possible. You know, the guy who did so much damage to our country that no Republican could win anything in 2008? The guy that did so much damage that his replacement got a Nobel prize just for not being him?

    Yeah, that sounds like a great plan. Read my lips, no more Texans! Obama 2012!

    September 14, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. thomas

    Rick Perry jokingly compared politicians in Washington, D.C., to addicts in treatment.
    "There ought to be a 12-step program for Washington, D.C.," he said, to laughter from the audience. "The first step should be: admit you are powerless over your spending addiction and that your budget has become unmanageable."
    Unfortunately Rick Perry would need to become rigorously honest , that he is not ! Rick Perry's idea of treatment comes in the form of a lethal injection .

    September 14, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. Canuck

    Let's see... President Obama is thoughtful, caring , compassionate and intelligent. So the GOP nominee needs to be a selfish, uncaring brute... well, no shortage of those types in the GOP, is there?

    September 14, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    What a joke.
    So the best contrast you all could come up with was CRAZY.
    Obama 2012

    September 14, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. w l jones

    These born again ...will say anything if they... somebody will believe them. Just because a 1781 person is president I am going to run all over him. ..Read your history see what happen to the pack in the end? Bless all our candidate.

    September 14, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Legalize America

    Let's see, he forced vaccines on children. How many assults is that on Perry. And then allowed a man to be killed when evidence proved he did not commit the murder, he just allowed the man to die. That to me is murder, don't know about any other Americans by my personal opinion, I am voting for The United States of America, RON PAUL 2012

    Any vote for anyone else is a vote for THE UNITED STATES CORP.

    you choose, RON PAUL in 2012 for FREEDOM, or NO FREEDOM and vote one of the other morons in..

    September 14, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. Clwyd

    I think calling for Texas to secede from the Union, governors appointing Senators to Congress and the Congress having the right to overrule the Supreme Court is about as extreme a contrast as I want. What happened to my country???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    September 14, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Here's your contrast: Parry is a D student, a liar, a hypocrite and a danger to our country.

    President Obama graduated with honors from Harvard, is a man of integrity and has been working his fanny off for the betterment of our country since day 1, in spite of an opposition party that is more than willing to send our country down the toilet in order to blame him and regain power.

    The choice is pretty darn clear. And if America is so stupid as to elect a Republican, we get what we deserve. Our days as a leader in technology and innovation and of being an economic and military super-power will be over. And all the white trash, red-necked, teabagger idiots can all just go to hell in my book.

    September 14, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    Does this secessionist drink? I know he probably came to virginia to hook up with the confederate general aka the present governor, but they are really that different when it comes to healthcare? This from the cowboy who wanted not only to have healthcare in Texas but mix it up with Mexico?
    At least the President has way more class and doesn't show his crotch every time he gets the chance.

    September 14, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. iTALIAN NONNO

    The country has not hopefully forgotten the disaster of the most recent , swaggering, BS talking Texan, that inhabited the White House. Perry is pure BS,.. he talks it, he piles it, he loads it, and he will deliver it.

    September 14, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. No Amnesty for Teabaggers - Impeach Republicans

    Well, there is a sharp contrast between one of our most intelligent presidents, (Obama) and another dumb as a stick Texan.(Perry)

    September 14, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. put down the tea

    Please someone enlighten me about this myth of job creation in Texas. the unemployment rate in Tex is well above 8 percent. New Hampshire is 6. Why aren't they the stars? Also, if you "create " jobs by luring them from other states isn"t that " unemployment neutral? But if Perry does win the rate will drop to 0- 14 million unemployed minus the 30 million people who immediately flee to Canada. Problem solved!

    September 14, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    We do need contrast with Obama- exactly why we MUST NOT HAVE PERRY. He sounds EXACTLY LIKE OBAMA on immigration.

    September 14, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. Indy

    But on Wednesday the Texas governor said the Republican Party should pick a presidential nominee who is as philosophically different from President Barack Obama as possible.

    And this statement is more proof that it is all about the party for Republicans, be dammed what is best for the people !
    The road to ruins is paved with Republicans ! 12 years of complete and utter failure from Republicans.

    September 14, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    President Obama is intelligent, thoughtful, and cares about people.

    Perry is pretty stupid, shoots from the hip, and executes innocent people.

    Enough of a contrast?

    September 14, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  17. Marla

    Here's a question for Perry. How is it that the school districts in Texas are able to "opt-out" of paying into Social Security and force the teachers to pay into their crappy Texas retirement system? Wouldn't SS be stronger if all of those teachers were paying into it?
    As a teacher who worked in other states and did pay into SS, it hurt my retirement to work in Texas. Though I am now disabled, thanks to Texas, I am not eligible for SS. I paid into their retirement system, but not long enough to retire through it. I took the money that I had paid in when I left the state, but only after one third of it had been lost in the 2008 downturn.
    I would have much rather paid into SS and had a secure retirement, instead of being totally dependent upon my husband.
    Oh wait! That's what the GOTP wants – all women to be totally dependent upon men.
    I've lived in Texas. I would NEVER vote for Perry.

    September 14, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Dunnemarogra

    Perry loses ground in Iowa even with Pawlentys Endorsement. Bachmann won the Debate anyway Gingrich came second but you shouldnt have made a punch and judy show of Romney and Perry by plceing them in the centre Paul wasnt asked enough questions. Remember in a Democracy its the people who elects the Politicians not the media

    September 14, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. Lisa P

    Thank you Rick Perry for guaranteeing President Obama's reelection! :-)

    September 14, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. beevee

    yes I see a sharp contrast between Perry and Obama. Perry looks like a wooden-faced toy soldier with a fake smile. Obama looks like a smart, polished and caring person. People, You decide who you will want as your leader

    September 14, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |