Texas Governor Rick Perry may have had a tough slot in following Sarah Palin, but he proved to be up to the challenge. Perry delivered a stemwinder speech that had the crowd roaring on numerous occasions, and in doing so delivered a tough message to his own party. “Don’t tell me you’re a Republican,” Perry warned, “and don’t protect the innocent,” a sentiment that got a standing ovation. Perry took on his own party’s establishment, at least indirectly, than any of the previous major speakers.
I’ve seen Perry give speeches on television (mainly on YouTube) and knew he could be dynamic. Earlier in the day, I mentioned that alone among the other speakers on the ticket today, Perry had the only shot at matching the energy of Sarah Palin’s appearance. Perry has a very active delivery, in the same manner as a preacher. He doesn’t stand still, but instead puts his whole body into what he says. Perry’s speech turned a political conference into a Republican revival meeting, complete with the call to action at the end.
Perry’s first priority will be to win re-election in Texas later this year, which shouldn’t present a difficult task. If after that he decides to get serious about a run for the Presidency, don’t count him out. He’ll have more than two terms as an executive in a state that, as Perry reminded everyone in the speech, ranks first for economic growth thanks to Republican efforts to trim costs and keep taxes low. He could very well be the kind of challenger that could make Obama’s shot at a second term very, very difficult.
NEW ORLEANS -- TX Gov. Rick Perry (R) insists he's not running against Pres. Obama in '12, but so far he's the only person addressing a gathering of conservative activists to make a public appeal for additions to his campaign's mailing and email list.
Speaking yesterday to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Perry got a dramatically different reception than ex-AK Gov. Sarah Palin (R), who spoke just hours earlier. Palin packed the room, but Perry, addressing a smaller audience, elicited more consistent applause and more frequent standing ovations.
Where Palin left attendees thrilled but unconvinced of her ability to run in '12, Perry laid out a broader platform, all while disavowing interest in higher office. His name, in fact, isn't even on the SRLC's straw poll ballot.
"I don't put my name on any of the straw poll ballots because I'm not running. I'm not in. I don't know how many times I have to tell people that," Perry told Hotline OnCall after his speech.