AMES, Iowa — More than a thousand miles from the Ames straw poll, Texas Gov. Rick Perry made his GOP bid for president official Saturday.
“Howdy,” Perry greeted the conservative RedState confab in Charleston, S.C.
“It is time to get America working again,” he said. “That’s why, with the support of my family, and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today my candidacy for president of the United States.”
Perry presented himself as the son of tenant farmers and the first in his family to graduate from college. He hailed his wife and high school sweetheart, Anita.
After a spirited critique of President Barack Obama’s first few years in office, Perry reminded voters that Texas has led the nation in job creation during his tenure.
And he made clear that his vision includes a smaller role for government.
“I’ll work every day to try to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I possibly can,” he said to a roar of applause. “And at the same time, we’ll be freeing our families and small business and states from the cumbersome and costly federal government, so that those groups can create, and innovate and succeed.”
Perry didn’t mention the gathering of Iowa Republicans for the straw poll. Iowa GOP officials chided the governor for announcing his candidacy on the same day as the state party’s most important political event of the year, implying that he was thumbing his nose at their honored political tradition.
But the show went on in Ames. Minutes after Perry uttered the words confirming his candidacy, Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn took the stage inside the Hilton Coliseum to officially kick off the straw poll program.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.