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Taking Stock of Perry's Announcement Launching His Second Presidential Run

Ben Philpott
Perry made his official announcement this week.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has officially begun his second attempt at winning the Republican Presidential nomination. His long-awaited announcement came yesterday in North Texas. As his second White House bid begins, let’s take a look back at how yesterday’s announcement could impact his campaign going forward.

Number one: decor. It was absolutely the first thing you noticed when walking into the airplane hangar where Perry’s announcement was staged. Just behind the stage, taking up most of the hangar, was a C-130 transport plane – the same type of plane Perry flew in the Air Force. Standing in front of that plane, on stage with Perry, were military veterans from several different wars. Including Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the author and subject of the book and film “Lone Survivor.”

“He survived a savage attack on the side of a mountain in Afghanistan, losing his three teammates,” Perry said. “And, I might add, 16 fellow warriors were shot down trying to rescue him. He is not just the Lone Survivor. To Anita and me, he is a second son.”

It's clear Perry plans to play up his military connections in this campaign much more prominently than last time.

The second big thing was more what he didn't say. There was no talk of the sanctity of marriage, which is code for opposing same-sex marriage. No abortion, and only one passing reference to ObamaCare. Those were replaced by foreign policy, energy and number three: attacks on Wall Street.

“Capitalism is not corporatism,” Perry said. “It is not a guarantee of reward without risk. It’s not about Wall Street and the expense of Main Street.”

From Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders to conservative firebrand Ted Cruz to Rick Perry, everybody hates Wall Street in the 2016 election. Perry picked up that theme, but he also called for lower corporate taxes, and an overhaul of the Dodd-Frank Act, the country’s major banking regulation law. So, who does he want to fight for?

Wall Street wasn’t the only item on the attack menu. Most of the GOP field has started going after the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. Perry stuck with hammering the Obama Administration, along with another Washington subset: Senators.

“The question of every candidate will be this: When have you lead?” he said. “Leadership is not a speech on the Senate floor. It is not what you say, it is what you have done.”

That line is almost definitely aimed at fellow Texan, and fellow GOP presidential hopeful, Senator Ted Cruz, but you could easily throw in Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio as well.

As the speech ended, and as supporters began to file out, one thing was abundantly clear: Perry can still draw a crowd. For all the talk of the “oops” moment, or Perry being a retread candidate, he’s still a powerful retail politician. The press area was bursting with state and national media, and the crowd itself was pretty big – although, after being Governor for 14 years, he could have easily filled the hanger with a crowd solely consisting of his political appointees. And, even though he’s entering the race just barely ranked in the top 10 in early polls, FOX News host Sean Hannity was there to do an interview right after Perry’s Speech. The big question now is whether the energy and excitement from day one will translate outside of his home state. Perry's off to Iowa today.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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