Jefferson, Iowa (CNN) – On Thursday, Rick Perry tried to trump Mitt Romney’s “four aces” poker slams against him by doubling down with criticism of the former Massachusetts governor.
First, the Texas governor said Romney offended some Texans after comments he made at Monday’s CNN Tea Party Debate.
Second, Perry not only repeated his harsh slams against the Massachusetts health care law passed during Romney’s tenure, but also said “RomneyCare” is costing Iowans and all Americans.
In the debate, Romney likened Perry’s success at job creation to a poker player dealt a lucky hand of “four aces.” For example, Romney said Perry benefited from a state with no income tax, a wealth of oil and a Legislature controlled by Republicans.
Speaking at Thursday's fundraiser for Iowa’s Greene County Republican Party, Perry used the poker analogy, then went all-in.
“As a son of tenant farmers, I can tell you: I wasn’t born with four aces in my hand,” Perry said.
Later, he upped the anti-Romney ante.
“There’ve been some people who’ve said, ‘Well gosh yeah, you know, Texas, y’all got all that oil and gas and you’ve got this and you’ve got that and what have you,’” Perry said.
Then, reminding the crowd of Romney’s “four aces” remarks, the governor said: “There’s some folks back in Texas who were a little offended by that. We worked hard in Texas. We put good, hard, practical principles into play.”
He did not stop there.
While he reiterated his repeated lashing of President Obama’s health care law, Perry again tied it to the health care law passed during Romney’s term as governor.
“One of my opponents in the Republican primary, while he was the governor of Massachusetts – their job creation in that state was 47th in the nation, while he was sitting as the governor of the state,” Perry said. “Government mandated, government run health care. It’s part of what he put in place as the governor of Massachusetts.”
“The job creation in Massachusetts, and that legacy of health care in Massachusetts, even makes it worse today. There was a Beacon Hill Institute study that came out and shows that Gov. Romney’s misguided health mandates slowed the income growth and cost Massachusetts 18,000 jobs. If it cost Massachusetts 18,000 jobs, think about what ‘Obamacare’ is going to do to this country. ‘Romneycare’ has driven private insurance costs up by $4.3 billion in Massachusetts.”
As if to underscore his point, Perry said the impact of the Massachusetts health care law was even broader.
Because “Romneycare” increased Massachusetts private insurance costs, Perry said, “It’s cost taxpayers in Iowa, and across this country, nearly $4 billion in Medicaid and Medicare costs. This isn’t just about the state of Massachusetts and the cost to them directly. It’s also costing you.”
Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Romney’s campaign, responded in a statement.
"Gov. Perry was clearly rattled by his poor debate performance in Tampa,” Williams said.
“As a result, he is trying desperately to distract people from the very serious questions that were raised about his record in favor of higher taxes, his support of tuition breaks for illegal immigrants, his attacks on Social Security as an unconstitutional program and his controversial executive order forcing young girls to receive the HPV vaccine.”
Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN