Council Bluffs, Iowa (CNN) – The first event of Rick Perry's Iowa bus tour was billed as a town hall meeting, but Perry didn't take any questions from the crowd of roughly 60 people gathered at a Victorian mansion in Council Bluffs. Instead he introduced a surprise guest: Captain Dan Moran, a former Marine who was severely wounded in Iraq.
Moran –who has endorsed Perry and appeared in a video on the governor's behalf– spoke passionately about American exceptionalism, and ran through several reasons why he believes Perry is the most qualified candidate to be president.
"There's no doubt in my mind that he can get America working again," Moran said of Perry. "I started my own business when I came back – a simple idea. I want to create jobs for veterans. It was because of the conditions that he set in the state of Texas that I was able to go with that vision and be able to have a thriving business."
When Perry took the microphone he also touted his job creation record, portraying himself as the only outsider in the race, and without naming any of his rivals he took aim at the two frontrunners in the GOP primaries.
"Changing one Washington insider for another Washington insider is not going to change a thing," Perry said. "Taking a Wall Streeter and sending him to Washington DC is not going to change a thing. What this country's got to have is an outsider."
While Mitt Romney's private sector experience isn't technically on Wall Street, the company he founded, Bain Capital, manages $66 billion in assets and bills itself as "one of the world's leading private, alternative asset management firms." The leader in most recent polls, Newt Gingrich is a former House Speaker and spent twenty years as a member of the House of Representatives.
With voters fed up with both Wall Street and Washington, Perry spent time today highlighting his Texas roots in the hopes that some Iowa voters are still looking for someone untainted by either.
Following up on a recent ad aimed at social conservatives, Perry also doubled down today on his claim that President Barack Obama is engaged in a war on America's Christian values.
"His Justice Department is trying to impact longstanding law that basically says whether or not a church can hire or fire a minister and or their staff because of their values," Perry said. "Think about that. That's a war on values. That is a war on religion. And Americans won't accept this assault on their values anymore."