Perry Talks to South Carolina Voters in New Hampshire Debate
Texas Governor Rick Perry’s appearance at the ABC News debate in New Hampshire was his first public event since announcing he would continue his bid for the Republican Presidential nomination after a dismal 5th place finish in the Iowa caucuses.
The Governor is nor trying to win the Granite State. So he used the debate as a campaign message to South Carolina. He spent much of the night using his place at the back-of-the pack to highlight what he called his outsider status among GOP candidates. And Highlighting the squabbles between frontrunners Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.
“I think you’ve just seen a great example of why I got in this race,” Perry said after a long back and forth battle between the three top candidates, “because I happen to think that I’m the only outsider, with the possible exception of Jon Huntsman, who has not been part of the problem in Washington, D.C., the insiders in Washington, D.C.”
Perry also used the debate to talk about what he called his strong support of the military, an important topic to voters in South Carolina. Although he raised eyebrows when he said he would send troops back into Iraq, just weeks after the U.S. officially pulled out.
“The idea that we allow the Iranians to come back in to Iraq and take over that country with all the treasure both in blood and money we have spent in Iraq, because this President wants to kowtow to his liberal leftist base – and move out those men and women. He could have renegotiated that time frame. I think it is a huge error for us,” Perry said.
The Perry campaign later clarified his statement, saying the governor was talking about the strategic placement of U.S. troops – like the country already does around the world. But even that provocative statement didn’t bring any increased attention during the debate. He’s polling last among the serious contenders in New Hampshire and it was evident the other candidates made note of that: none bothered to challenge far less attack his statements.
So perry was left ticking off as many campaign talking points as he could in the time allotted.
“They want Washington out of their hair,” Perry said as he launched into a list of priorities from his stump speeches, “they want less taxation, less regulation, less litigation. There’s a model for that in the state of Texas over the course of the last decade.”
The governor will participate in another debate this morning on NBC’s Meet the Press. Then it’s off to South Carolina for a 14-day tour. When asked if his campaign had the money to continue after South Carolina, a Perry spokesman said right now they were focused on South Carolina. Where, some polls show Perry in 5th place.