One GOPer is out and another one is in….
Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his bid for the 2012 Republican nomination in South Carolina on Saturday with a speech grounded in attacks on President Obama for “downgrading” America.
“It’s time to get America working again,” Perry told 700 conservative activists packed into at Charleston hotel ballroom. “Page one of any economic plan to get American working is to give a pink slip to the current residents in the White House.”
In South Carolina, host to the nation’s third presidential primary, Perry vowed to apply what has worked in Texas during his ten years as governor to Washington – balancing the budget and cutting government spending.
“America is not broken, Washington, D.C., is broken,” Perry said.
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Perry enters the race as a serious contender for the nomination, one with the potential to combine establishment support (and the strong fundraising that comes with it) with the backing of social and fiscal conservatives.
Stylistically reminiscent of his predecessor as Texas governor who won the presidency – George W. Bush – Perry’s calling card is Texas’ strong record of job creation: 40 percent of the nation’s new jobs since June 2009 are in Texas. The state’s unemployment rate is about one-point below the national rate of 9.1-percent, and 25 states’ are lower.
“One in six work-eligible Americans cannot find a full-time job — that is not a recovery, that is an economic disaster,” Perry said.
While Perry spent some of his speech discussing his own record, he spent most of his time attacking the current White House occupant. He criticized Mr. Obama’s “unbridled fixation” on spending and suggested the president’s “big spending, big government policies” have “prolonged our national misery, not alleviated it.”
“Recovery is a meaningless word if the bank has foreclosed on your home, if you’re underwater on your mortgage, or if you are up to the max on your credit card debt,” he added. “Mister President, let us tell you something: You cannot win the future buy selling America off to foreign creditors. We cannot afford four more years of this rudderless leadership.”
And poor little Tim Pawlenty couldn’t stand the heat, so he’s getting outta the kitchen!
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is dropping out of the presidential race, sources told CBS News on Sunday. According to a campaign source, Pawlenty told supporters on a conference call Sunday morning that he would announce his withdrawal from the race on ABC’s “This Week” after a disappointing third place finish at Saturday’s Ames straw poll in Ames, Iowa.
“We needed to get some lift to continue on and have a pathway forward,” Pawlenty said, according to ABC. “That didn’t happen, so I’m announcing this morning on your show that I’m going to be ending my campaign for president.”
The straw poll was a crucial test for Pawlenty, who was initially expected to be a strong challenger to putative Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney. But his campaign failed to catch fire, with polls indicating that his support never moved out of the single digits.
Pawlenty bussed in supporters to the straw poll who signed a pledge to vote for him, offering them free “Famous Dave’s” barbecue and green Pawlenty t-shirts with the number twelve on the back. In a speech, he condemned President Obama as having “no clue” what America needs and saying he needs to “get the government off our backs.”
And while the former governor had acknowledged that Saturday’s contest was a crucial for his campaign, he indicated to supporters on Saturday night that he would be staying in the race despite his third-place finish.
“We made progress in moving from the back of the pack into a competitive position for the caucuses, but we have a lot more work to do. This is a long process to restore America — we are just beginning and I’m looking forward to a great campaign,” he said in a statement.
On Sunday, however, he changed course.
“I thought I would have made a great president, but obviously that pathway isn’t there,” Pawlenty said, according to the Associated Press. “I do believe we’re going to have a very good candidate who is going to beat Barack Obama.”