Perry returns to Iowa political spotlight, hammers hard against Obama
November 7th, 2013
10:49 PM ET
11 months ago

Perry returns to Iowa political spotlight, hammers hard against Obama

(CNN) – Returning to Iowa for the first time since he campaigned in the state's Republican presidential caucuses two years ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry delivered a blistering anti-Washington, anti-President Barack Obama address as he spoke Thursday night at a Polk County GOP dinner.

Normally known for his folksy, light-hearted demeanor, Perry instead remained largely serious as he sacked the Obama administration on a range of issues from health care law to foreign policy.

The potential 2016 presidential candidate also hinted he's eager to play a big role in getting the country back on track.

"Those of you with this ... renewed sense of purpose in this country can lead America back to greatness again. I stand ready to work with you to create that," he said at the end of his remarks.

The 12-minute speech was riddled with what he described as damaging steps the president has taken and warning about the next few years of Obama's presidency.

"It's amazing to me that the Obama administration is capable of barricading a war memorial despite government being shut down, but they can't operate a website when it gets up and running," he said about the botched HealthCare.gov rollout.

The governor, who's not running for re-election next year, spent a significant portion of his time on foreign policy. He blasted the president for "alienating" Israel, "emboldening" Iran and "muddling" through the Arab Spring.

"Long before our President presided over our downgrading of our credit, he was downgrading our standing in the world," Perry said.

Perry said Obama showed a "demonstration of weakness" following the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria by the Bashar al-Assad regime. The president sought congressional approval before striking the war-torn country, but Syria ultimately agreed to a diplomatic solution before Congress held a vote.

"We gotta be the only country in the world that sends out a save-the-date attack card," he said, to applause and some laughs. "It is not in our interests to give advance warning to an enemy. As an old Air Force pilot, I will tell you, we want the first sign of coming to be craters in their soil."

"It's not too late for America to lead in the world. We can do it again," he added.

On the domestic front, Perry lamented the country's financial entanglement and argued the future will best be determined by the states, not the federal government.

"We're losing the country we love to a government that is too big, too arrogant, too controlling of our everyday lives," he said. "We've got to turn away from Washington to find answers. We need to look to red states that are outperforming blue states."

He pointed to "conservative governors" such as Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Rick Scott of Florida and Terry Branstad of Iowa.

Notably absent from the list was fellow Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who won re-election in the blue state of New Jersey this week, as well as other potential 2016 contenders, including Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

(Update 9:30 a.m. ET, 11/8/2013: Perry was asked Friday morning on MSNBC whether he intentionally left Christie out of the mix.

"I think I mentioned four governors out of the 30 that are in the office," Perry replied. "If I missed anybody, I'll try to make it up to them in the next speech.")

As he often did in his 2012 campaign, Perry highlighted in his speech the Texas economy and its tax incentives for businesses, saying the federal government should pay attention and let the "sleeping giant" of American industries break past a mountain of regulations.

Although his speech was underlined with a serious tone, Perry let a few jokes slip through.

"I got some really fond memories of campaigning here, competing in the Iowa caucuses. The only thing I regret is taking that really big bite out of that veggie corn dog at the state fair," he said. "Probably going to see that one again sometime, you think?"

Perry added he always feels "comfortable" when he visits Iowa (where he placed a disappointing fifth in the 2012 caucuses), saying he's the son of a farmer and the state's values remind him of his hometown in Texas.

"Our leaders have forgotten how to govern - believe me, I know a few things about forgetting," he joked, poking fun at himself from his infamous "oops" moment when he forgot the third of three federal agencies he would eliminate while speaking at a presidential debate.

Perry marks the latest of a stream of potential 2016 contenders who have visited Iowa.

Fellow Texan, Sen. Ted Cruz, carried out a two-day trip in Iowa last month - his third trip to the state this year.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Jindal have also made stops in the Hawkeye State in recent months.


Filed under: 2016 • Iowa • Rick Perry
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    Still no ideas from Parry or the right ... they think they can win by turning people against the president ... that's all they've got ... all they know about the economy is how to wreck it ... what a bunch of losers ..

    November 7, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  2. S. B. Stein

    He has little understanding of the world around us like his predecessor. It would be nice to hear what he would have done rather just criticize. Anyone can criticize which is easy.

    November 7, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    God, when will these dopes learn that they are not wanted by the majority of Americans? Keep up the good work dummies, your days are numbered!

    November 8, 2013 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  4. luke,az

    "Ooops" Perry is back again, the brain trust of the Republican party.

    November 8, 2013 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  5. cbp

    Good grief! Governor Perry is back in the race again. I was not impressed last time around and I really do not see that he has made any changes over the last couple of years. Instead of hammering this administration how about telling us what you will do that will change the direction of the country. Will we revert back to the 50' when women were not equals? Right now that seems to be the direction of his home state.

    November 8, 2013 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  6. anon

    He should. Obama is a failure, a laughing stock to the world, a criminal, a liar, and has expanded every single Bush policy, including the murder of women and children in the Middle East.

    November 8, 2013 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Go Rick Go!

    November 8, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  8. john farris

    Rick Perry vs, Hilary Clinton. I wonder who would win.

    November 8, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  9. Al

    Yes Virginia, there really is someone dumber than George W.

    November 8, 2013 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  10. Jon

    Hammer hards on Obama, huh? YOU MAKE ME LAUGH! Forget it, you will LOSE election in 2016!

    November 8, 2013 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  11. Not Too Hard To Understand

    This guy is still around?

    November 8, 2013 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  12. Mike

    Looks like the GOP will need at least a 7 passenger clown car for 2016. Might be time to consider at least a short school bus with a heavy-duty suspension just in case.

    November 8, 2013 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  13. Boston Guy

    Perry is the male Palin. Sore losers.

    November 8, 2013 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  14. WGB

    Wait until the first debates. Rick Perry will fold like a piece of origami. These Texas "cowboys" are no better than the big 3 from the alamo that they like to hearken to. William Travis was a slave trader. Jim Bowie was a murderer on the run from the Louisiana law. Davy Crockett never once put forth a bill to end slavery while he was in the House of Representatives. All 3 wanted for Texas to be a slave state. Rick Perry is a man out of his time. He'd be perfectly at home in the antebellum south. He's no better than a "self-styled benign slave owner." He's like all other Republicans who want to go back to the 1950's when people like him could abuse, imprison and even murder minorities without fear of retribution from the law.

    November 8, 2013 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  15. Rhonda Daly

    “It’s three agencies of government when I get to the White House that are gone: Commerce, Education and the… uh, what’s the third one there? Let’s see…(gulp). "Oops!"

    November 8, 2013 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  16. bam

    prayer vigils...
    the head of the texas wing of the Christian Taliban Shariah council

    November 8, 2013 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  17. Vic

    What an idiot, didn't he learn his lesson in 2012? Rick Perry is a cancer to Texas, and has no hope of winning anything in Washington.

    November 8, 2013 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  18. Vic

    What a fraud, didn't he learn his lesson in 2012? Rick Perry is a disease that was cured by American intelligence, rendering him completely irrelevant for the rest of his life.

    November 8, 2013 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  19. sly

    Was Perry able to speak in complete sentences? That would be a big improvement. That big blank stare when asked to name his 'Main 3 Ideas'?

    Ha ha ha ha ha. No wonder they do anal searches of citizens in Texas with no requirement for any cause.
    Ha ha ha ha ha. I feel so sorry for those that are unable to escape Satan's lair.

    November 8, 2013 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  20. Jeb

    Perry is a joke.

    November 8, 2013 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  21. Mark Smith

    Bashing Obama will get him no where!! Whats he going to do to make a difference??? Not a damn thing!!!

    November 8, 2013 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  22. Just_realistic

    Perry is not a '16 contender so not sure what he's doing.

    November 8, 2013 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  23. Junaita

    anyone dumb enough to believe Perry does not deserve the right to vote.

    November 8, 2013 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  24. Frank

    um, he does know that Obama can't run again right? Of course not. Perry is stuck in reverse. Good news is that he will never win.

    November 8, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  25. Dick46

    How about his state's worst health care delivery system in the nation? Register and vote Democratic if you make less than $ 250 K per year.

    November 8, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
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