NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Gov. Perry Announces Run For President

DAVID GREENE, host: And now let's turn to South Carolina and that big announcement from Rick Perry. It was the worst kept secret of the weekend, but Rick Perry is in.


Governor RICK PERRY: It is time to get America working again, and that's why with the support of my family and unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today as a candidate for president of the United States.


GREENE: That was Rick Perry declaring his intentions to a conference of conservative activists in Charleston, South Carolina. Reporter Julie Rose was there covering the speech and joins us now. Hello, Julie.

JULIE ROSE: Hi, David.

GREENE: So I guess welcome to the big stage, Rick Perry. What does this do to the Republican race?

ROSE: Well, you know, I hate to sound cliche here, but the conservative activists I've been speaking to today keep using the term game changer. And he's got an alluring blend, you know, of attributes that appeal to the more establishment side of the Republican Party, but then he also has this strong appeal to the Tea Party movement. Plus, he's the longest serving governor of the second most populous state in the country, so he does have a real track record, which, I think, we can expect to hear him talk a lot about on the campaign trail.

GREENE: So what do you expect Perry's message to be as a candidate as we go forward?

ROSE: Jobs, first and foremost. He's making no bones about that. He touts his record in Texas, which has been a job creation powerhouse, if you will, since the recession and during this last few years. There's been growth in Texas across the job sector. And he also - Governor Perry talks about his guiding principals, what he's followed as he governs Texas, and they're pretty straightforward. One, don't spend all the money; keep taxes low; keep regulation fair and predictable; and reform the legal system to limit frivolous lawsuits.

GREENE: That's quite a list.

ROSE: Yeah. Exactly. And he also has pledged that he will repeal the health care overhaul legislation. So he pretty much summed it up like this.


PERRY: I'll work every day to try to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can.


GREENE: Washington, inconsequential. We've heard that from Republicans before, certainly. What about electability? I mean, what do Republican insiders say his strength would be if he does get the nomination?

ROSE: Well, electability is actually key. You know, a lot of conservative activists I'm talking to here say, you know, they may not be in love with everything Rick Perry has done or everything he believes, but they do think he may be more electable than some of the real Tea Party favorites right now like Michele Bachmann or Herman Cain. You know, he's also a devoted evangelical Christian. He held a huge prayer rally last weekend in Houston.

GREENE: Yeah. It made a lot of news.

ROSE: Exactly. That kind of message, you know, it resonates - the religious message - conservative religious message resonates really well with Republicans in key states like South Carolina, for example.

GREENE: And, Julie, what about any vulnerabilities he might have to overcome? I mean, this is a governor who sort of flirted with the idea of Texas seceding from the union at one point.

ROSE: Right. And, you know, another big thing that people are mentioning is his stance on immigration, which has not been strong enough for many conservatives. He has scoffed at the idea of building a border fence. Texas does allow illegal immigrants to pay instate tuition at state schools. So there are a number of his policies that worry conservatives for whom immigration is a big issue. And he's late to the race, so he's got to catch up on fundraising as well as campaign organizing. But he's off to a running start. You know, he'll be in New Hampshire tonight and Iowa tomorrow. Both of them are key voting - early voting states.

GREENE: Well, hitting the ground running, it sounds like, is Governor Rick Perry from Texas. Julie Rose speaking to us from Charleston, South Carolina. Thanks, Julie.

ROSE: You're welcome, David. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.