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Gov. Perry Declares Himself Candidate For President

Governor Perry speaking last week at a prayer rally in Houston. Perry announced his intention to run for president today in South Carolina.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath by KUT News
Governor Perry speaking last week at a prayer rally in Houston. Perry announced his intention to run for president today in South Carolina.

Governor Rick Perry introduced himself to the nation as a presidential candidate at a speech this afternoon in Charleston, South Carolina.

"I declare to you today as a candidate for president of the United States," Perry said at a conservative bloggers' conference in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Perry began his speech by asking the audience to observe a moment of silence for the 30 American soldiers killed last week in Afghanistan.

He followed with a description of his pastoral roots as the child of two tenant farmers in rugged West Texas, and touched on his military history in the U.S. Air Force in the 1970s.

“Anyone from any background can climb to the highest of highs [in the United States]. As Americans, we don’t see the roll of government as guaranteeing outcomes, but allowing free men and women to flourish based on their own vision, their hard work, and their personal responsibility,” he said.

Perry pivoted on that note to attack the Obama administration and pin blame for high unemployment and slow economic growth on the President.

“We realize there is no taxpayer money that isn’t first earned by the sweat and toil of one of our citizens,” Perry said to loud applause from the conservative audience.

“That’s why we reject this president’s unbridled fixation on taking more money out of wallets or pocketbooks,” he said.

The Texas Governor hailed the Lone Star State’s relative economic stability during the recession as evidence that his particular economic philosophy should be applied at the national level.

“We balanced our budget, not by raising our taxes, but by cutting spending,” Perry said, in reference to the recent state legislative session. Lawmakers balanced the last biennial budget by dipping into the Rainy Day Fund, the state’s savings account. Then they closed a multibillion-dollar gap in the upcoming two-year budget by sharply reducing government services, including a $4 billion cut to public education.

“It can and it must be done in Washington DC,” Perry said.

Governor Perry next heads to New Hampshire, where he will seek votes from Republican voters in that early primary state.

He also must now ramp up his campaign into full gear. Our political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune, has this look at Perry’s inner circle of campaign operatives. 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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