Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Rick Perry again likened the Republican nomination fight to a "marathon" on Tuesday and said the race begins tonight at the Iowa caucuses.
Perry was doing some last-minute campaigning alongside his top surrogate, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, at Principal Financial Group in Des Moines.
CNN Live: Tune in tonight at 7 p.m. ET for CNN's live special coverage of the Iowa Caucuses and follow real-time results on CNNPolitics.com and on Twitter at #cnnelections. Stay up to date with CNN apps for iPhone, iPad, Android or other phones.
- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
"It's game on today," Perry told employees of the company. "As Bobby [Jindal] said, it's like the Super Bowl is starting now. I don't get confused that this is a marathon. It's going to go on for some time."
Perry began characterizing the GOP race as a long haul in recent days, after his Iowa fortunes started to fade in the wake of Rick Santorum's late bump in the polls.
Few Republicans in Iowa believe Perry will nab one of the coveted top three spots on Tuesday night, but Perry's team argues that two of the likely top finishers – Ron Paul and Rick Santorum – are not viable candidates in the long run.
A fourth place finish, in their view, would eliminate Newt Gingrich and leave Perry as the only strong conservative alternative to frontrunner Mitt Romney.
Perry is planning to skip the New Hampshire primary, which appears primed to hand Romney a comfortable victory.
Instead he will decamp Wednesday to friendlier turf in conservative-leaning South Carolina, where he hopes to make an aggressive final stand as the anti-Romney.
Perry said there is one message he wants caucus-goers to remember before they cast their votes tonight around Iowa: "That this is a governor who understands what freedom is about."
Perry will appear on CNN's "John King, USA" at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday, along with Santorum and former candidate Herman Cain.
Gingrich: Romney is lying
Bachmann looks ahead to South Carolina
Gingrich suggests a Tuesday win
Gingrich strives for 'great upset' in Iowa
hopefully today marks the day that ALL candidates incapable of governing ALL AMERICANS will start dropping out!
More Texas slang? Perry's game is over and he knows it. Hopefully, Romney won't be long behind him.
I don't think Perry is going to go anywhere, except back to Texas. Just not ready for prime time....
I would think Louisiana has enough problems and their governor needs to be home. Is Texas paying Perry while he campaigns.
Yer gonna lose big time, Ricky. To a mannequin, a crazy old man and a religious extremist. "Oops"
Great advertisement for BP and ENRON !
yes, texas is paying the governor, the lieutenant governor (who is taking care of business) and $400K/month for perry's security. texas, a state that perry says is having such financial trouble that he slashed education, can now afford for this blithering fool to feed his enormous ego running in a race that he doesn't stand a chance in you know where winning. perry has made "dumbing down" the population a science.
I think he meant to say "game over".
Now there's a great spokesman: "Hi, I'm Bobby Gin-Dell and I'm gonna give the response to President Obama's State of the Union Address." A block of wood would have made a more engaging speech. Are their any horses worth racing in the GOP stable – or is what we're seeing the best they've got?
I'm afraid he will return to Texas... and things were going so well lately...
It's what freedom's about - the freedom for a 14-year-old rape victim to be forced to have her uncle's baby.
I can't wait for the magazine cover of Mr. Perry attempting to insert ice cream on a cone into his forehead. Game on indeed!
Booby Jingle looks ready to slap Cowboy Fonzie in that pic. Seriously, Jingle must be completelysecretly outraged that Cowboy Fonzie is up there instead of himself....after all, he's only half the disappointing and corrupt moron.
you knowwhat the difference is between aggie boots and cowboys ?,,,that's easy with the aggie boots the craps on the inside
This idiot believes that the presidential race is like Omaha Beach. All the republican candidates are pathetic, but Perry is perhaps the king of irrelevancy and idiocy.
It's really too bad the the election for governor was held before this foray into national politics – I think the results would have been much different. It's also evident why perry ran from debates (with bill white) like a scared dog.
Republicans...with all the people in this country, this field is your best and brightest? Lord help us.
@Jake: "hopefully today marks the day that ALL candidates incapable of governing ALL AMERICANS will start dropping out!"
If only it were that easy to get rid of the GOP!
perry is an aggie,,,telling booby there,,,you can allways tell when you getting close to an aggies land,,,,,it's when the sheep back up to the fence
Jindal gets the good old boy "I'm superior to you" hug.
Jinadal's endorsement of Perry says a lot for his judgment of character and politics.