WEST DES MOINES, Iowa –- Just hours after announcing via Twitter that he would be continuing his presidential bid in South Carolina, Texas Gov. Rick Perry blasted Iowa's caucus process and blamed it for his fifth-place finish.
“This is a quirky place, a quirky process, to say the least, and we’re going to go into places where they have actual primaries and there are going to be real Republicans voting,” he told reporters. “Not that there aren’t real Republicans here in Iowa, but the fact is, it was a pretty loosey-goosey process, and you had a ton of people who were there that admitted they were Democrats voting in the caucuses last night.”
The governor announced he would be returning to Austin on Tuesday night to reevaluate his campaign after getting only 10 percent of the vote in the Iowa contest. But barely 12 hours later, he arrived at a final decision while on a run through Raccoon Creek Park. “And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State.... Here we come South Carolina!!!,” he tweeted, alerting people to the decision.
The choice to keep fighting, which he said involved discussions with adviser Joe Allbaugh and communications director Ray Sullivan, was not a difficult one, he said.
Though Perry declined to elaborate on the path forward, South Carolina is rich in both evangelical voters and veterans -- two key groups for Perry's campaign. He said he felt “comfortable” with the state, its people, and their values.
He also made it clear that he will continue to portray himself as the outsider in the race.
“I’m gonna delineate and characterize the differences in the candidates, and there are huge differences,” Perry said. “These guys are all insiders that have spent years and years in Washington, D.C.; they’re the reason that this country is broken, is because the earmarks, the spending habits that’s been built up in Washington, D.C. And they need an outsider, and I think Americans are looking for that alternative and that choice, and I’m it.”
Perry, who is often reticent to talk to reporters, seemed happy to chat with the media on Wednesday morning. His wife, Anita, walked out minutes before him, greeting the press cheerfully and noting, “I love grits” –- a nod to the campaign’s next stop.