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A spokesman for Texas governor Rick Perry confirmed on Thursday that the governor is running for president in 2012, adding more drama to the already overcrowded field of candidates on the GOP side.
Perry spokesman Mark Miner said the governor would formally announce his candidacy on Saturday while visiting South Carolina and New Hampshire just as most of his presidential rivals compete in a test vote in Iowa.
Although the news isn’t much of a surprise, the timing is crucial. Just hours before the Republican debate and two days before the all-important Ames straw poll in Iowa, Perry decides to make if official.
Perry has appeal for many different factions of the GOP’s primary electorate. He is strongly pro-business fiscal conservative. He also has ties to the nation’s Christian leaders and is a social conservative.
But, Perry is not without problems. His views are extreme, even among the Tea Party. He will likely face opposition from secular groups that believe his religious rhetoric violates the separation of church and state. He has suggested that Texas secedes from the country if “governmental overreach” continues.
Perry supports states rights over federal government, angering members of his party when he believes that states should decide things like gay marriage and legalization of marijuana. However, Perry is very pro-guns which will help him appeal to his base.
Perry last year told an Associated Press reporter that he carries a laser-sighted pistol while jogging, and that he used it to shoot a coyote that threatened his daughter’s dog that came along one day for a run.
Texans touted what they called a heroic act, and gun manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. issued a “Coyote Special” edition of its Ruger .380-caliber pistol complete with “A True Texan” emblazoned on the side.
In a recent interview with Time magazine, Perry said that former President George W. Bush — who preceded Perry as Texas governor — has been advising him on the decision.
“He said, ‘You’ll do what’s right,’” Perry said, of a June conversation with the former president. “He said, you don’t want to wake up when you’re 70 and go, ‘I wish I had tried that. I wish I had done that.’”
Questioned about the strength of his conservative credentials, Perry said he didn’t think there was “any doubt” that he was at least as conservative as every other candidate in the race – if not more so.
“I’ve got a record. And that record, particularly when it comes to the most important issues in this campaign, which is creating the climate of America that gives incentives to job creators to risk their capital and create jobs for our citizens, I will put that up against anybody who’s running and particularly against this President we have today, whose jobs record is abysmal,” he said.
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