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

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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 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. getu

    He must have the name of the 3rd government department that he is going to get the raid off

    November 8, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  2. Anonymous

    We are losing Texas to a Governor that is too big for his britches, too arrogant and too controlling of our every day
    lives. Not only that, we are losing money that would help uninsured children, food stamps, etc because this guy
    shifts funds around to cover up his own ineptness or is too stubborn to accept federal money.

    Sadly, we have one that would be worse coming up unless we can break the mold and start new with
    Wendy Davis.

    He can run for President again, wasting money that would feed children and hard pressed families
    instead of his ego.

    November 8, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  3. rs

    Republicans need their heads examined if they allow Perry out of Texas, much less run for the Presidency. This was the TEA Party fool who wanted Texas to secede from the Union (there's that anti-American streak, again), and couldn't even keep track of his talking points during the Republican "debates".

    November 8, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  4. rs

    The GOP really needs to have this point driven home- vacuous people (like Perry), with no ideas, no policies, no solutions (except to destroy what we know as our nation) are the reason they no longer have a national party, and may well cease to function altogether. The sooner they are rid of the Perrys, Pauls, O'Donnells, Bachmanns, Santorums, Akins and so on, is the moment they may begin to rebuild their credibility with Americans again.

    November 8, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  5. jinx9to88

    Christie better hurry up and make the announcement that he is running for president because the clown car is filling up quick.

    November 8, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  6. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So, this clown is really gonna subject himself to the embarrassment of another run for the Presidency. Gee. I wonder what he is going to forget this time? Maybe that he got trounced last time and the same thing will probably happen again?

    November 8, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  7. Anonymous

    "Go Rick Go"
    Go away!

    November 8, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  8. Al-NY,NY

    the village idiot is back is town.

    November 8, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  9. Walter Adams

    The dismal fact that Texas has the most uninsured citizens in the nation is reason enough for Perry to never criticize the ACA. And I suppose his notion of foreign policy is to ignite all-out war throughout the Middle East just so we can show that we're still number one. But, just like dead people don't know they're dead, stupid people don't know they're stupid. Rick, you are stupid.

    November 8, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    Sad to say, he's probably not conservative enough this time out. The frightening part is, who is?

    November 8, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  11. vic , nashville ,tn

    Oops he is back .Good for democrats

    November 8, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  12. ST

    Is this the man who has a foggy head? One could think by now he should come up with new ideas, instead it is the same old fashion style of criticising. Those days have gone. No new ideas, very few or none will pay attention to listen.

    November 8, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  13. TONE

    I have a question please put this into perspective for me someone, why are guys like Perry, Cruz, Paul, and Rubio running knowing that thay cannot win, is there a reward for them doing so?

    November 8, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  14. thinking outside the box

    From the article...

    "We're losing the country we love to a government that is too big, too arrogant, too controlling of our everyday lives," he said

    Then what does Perry have to say about the fact that under his tenure as Texas Governor the percentage increase in government jobs rose 18% but the percentage increase in private jobs rose 10%? That sure sounds like he is all in favor for increasing government. Just as long as it is government spending he likes.

    November 8, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
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