Perry returns to Iowa political spotlight, hammers hard against Obama
November 7th, 2013
10:49 PM ET
10 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. Mike Danahy

    Seriously Rick? Did you forget that you're the numbskull that couldn't even remember which agencies of the government you would eliminate in the last clown-show primary season, of which you were the ringmaster? The guy's an idiot and a joke.

    November 8, 2013 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  2. Marlon45

    Here this clown go again, I guess he can go to a town that may not realize just how horrible the town of West in Texas is fairing after that explosion at the West fertilizer plant has destroyed the lives of private citizens b/c they were completely under insured, But that good government according to Final Term Governor of Texas, This Man is so friendly with big business & would reduce all regulations & allow the crooks to guard themselves, all while trampling the small, I'm sure the working class citizenry who lost homes & businesses would love to endorse this creep, He should be discussing the note he sent to President Obama asking for FEMA assistance after a unregulated private business in Texas all but whipped that town off the Map!

    November 8, 2013 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  3. bmonteith

    Sorry, it's just kind of funny when some faux Austin cowboy thinks he's going to earn credibility in the party by running against somebody who is ineligible to run for the Presidency, but who could, I suppose, run for House or Senate out of Illinois.

    November 8, 2013 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  4. Conservative BS

    Who is Perry? The latest GOP clown is Canadian Ted Cruz.

    November 8, 2013 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  5. tbgrsrlsrs

    "The potential 2016 presidential candidate ..." That's good one.That Ashley is such a joker.

    November 8, 2013 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  6. Dick Delson

    Where does the Republican Party find idiots like Perry...under a rock? And I'm still waiting for one of these clowns to tell us what George W. MORON did for us in his 8 disastrous years years in The White House including his war in Iraq for oil money for he and his father. And how about Afghanistan?

    November 8, 2013 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  7. I'mvotingforHillary

    This guy is wasting his time and money. Racist nuts like him will never be president.

    November 8, 2013 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  8. Simon Cohen

    If Perry runs again and wins the nomination, it will be a cake walk for Democrats.

    November 8, 2013 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  9. Alex

    There are 3 reasons why I think Rick Perry is a great man and leader...Oops! I forgot them all.

    November 8, 2013 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  10. Leroy

    I thought Rick Ponzi was going to retire and ride off into the sunset...

    November 8, 2013 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  11. loudmusic

    This ignoramus putz has to be kidding. He's gonna try this again in 2016? On the upside, the first one in the clown car gets to call shotgun.

    November 8, 2013 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  12. MrManhattan

    Just secede. You're embarrassing us in front of the other First World countries.

    November 8, 2013 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  13. shutup

    Mr Oops PLEASE go back to Texas. You and Big Daddy Cruz I swear the water you both or drinking is intoxicated everybody in office from Texas as screwed up America.

    November 8, 2013 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  14. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Perry is prepared to embarrass himself and the Guns Over People tea potty again,that's about it. Can't wait to see the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style.

    November 8, 2013 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  15. king

    these repubs get on stage and acts as if the federal budget, taxes, inflation, is going up not down, they act as if America has seen a stock market this high as if the rich who they have been pushing to be rich, this rich. in my opinion this country has not been in such a good situation as it is in right now. lesson folks, the one ball these repubs has in their corner, is the 17 trillion dollars budget deficit our country owns. the problem is they will never tell you it was their administration that push the deficit this high. how the hell can you fight 2 wars, and lower taxes, then never have anyway of paying for it. the interest off those 2 wars will saddle us down for generations. medicare part D is still not payed for. at least obamacare will be payed for and not be a burden to our economy. why wont these folks stop picking on flaws in the obamacare and help fix it without jeopardizing the new revolution of our generation.

    November 8, 2013 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  16. MaryM

    Ha! The clown car occupants are starting early. Popcorn stock will go up soon

    November 8, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  17. Gurgyl

    This oblivious idiot is crazy. Let him go to Iowa, Ohio, NC it does not matter. USA has more awareness than Reagan era.

    November 8, 2013 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  18. Southeast

    Go away already, you are delusional.

    November 8, 2013 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  19. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    The four horsemen of the apocalypse; Perry, Boehner, Cruz and Paul. It was nice to see Perry in Iowa, because he left Texas to visit California. His accomplishments include increasing the number of uninsured in Texas to 25%, refusing to help 1 million people by refusing to take the medicaid expansion, legislating against women and minorities, tax breaks for big businesses, reduced environmental standards, and an ongoing battle with workers. I was going to write more, but oops.

    November 8, 2013 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  20. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Did he talk about Texas secession? Did he mention what he did with the stimulus money that was supposed to help Texans? As for regulations, Perry sees no benefits in food inspections, auto safety regulations, restrictions on drilling in the gulf, environmental standards on the air we breath, but has no trouble regulating against women's rights. He should run for congress, because the republicans there also seem obsessed with regulating women's bodies (over 40 times).

    November 8, 2013 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  21. Toltec1

    It is confusing to me that Mr. Perry still has credibility in the political world. I don't see much appealing about what Governor Perry has accomplished in Texas. Derugulating bussiness would be great if it wasn't for greed. I appreciate what Texas stands for in many ways, but not all. To me, Gov Perry represents regression, not progression of mankinds advancement of civilization. Peace

    November 8, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  22. Doc

    Rick Perry is as irrelevant to his home state as he is to the nation. He is a buffoon with an audience.

    November 8, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Is the Republican Party actually *for* anything besides drumming Pres. Obama out of office and destroying his legacy?

    November 8, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    "We've got to turn away from Washington to find answers. We need to look to red states that are outperforming blue states."

    Love the Brothers-Koch talking points, Governor Perry. BTW: Good luck pushing outperforming red states nationally. Especially to those blue states (mine included) that federally fund those red state "over performers" you all want to promote. Yeah. I said nationally. Contrary to the Koch Brothers ideology, all 50 states are still included within the borders of the United States of America.

    November 8, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    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.
    ------------------------–
    It's pretty clear in what direction a Pres. Perry would take the country, to war. How many elections do Republicans have to lose before they finally figure out that being the fiesty, belligerent person in the room doesn't win you popularity contests?

    November 8, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
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