Rick Perry Wasn’t Kidding. He’s Really Thinking About 2016

The Texas governor is studying up on foreign policy, running ads critical of Washington, and planning a trip to Iowa.

Texas Governor Rick Perry arrives for a press conference on the sidelines of the Republican Party's State Party Convention in Anaheim, California, on October 4, 2013. More than 1,000 party activists and leaders are expected to attend the three-day convention.  
National Journal
Beth Reinhard
Add to Briefcase
Beth Reinhard
Oct. 16, 2013, 6 a.m.

When Rick Perry hin­ted in Ju­ly at an­oth­er pres­id­en­tial bid, it seemed like a fresh “oops” mo­ment for the one-time con­tender whose de­bate blun­der be­came a meta­phor for his hap­less cam­paign. Turns out he wasn’t kid­ding.

This week, Perry is try­ing to hone his for­eign policy cre­den­tials in vis­its to Lon­don and Is­rael. He’s also star­ring in a na­tion­al ad­vert­ising cam­paign that seeks to cap­it­al­ize on in­creas­ing pub­lic dis­gust with Con­gress by de­rid­ing Wash­ing­ton grid­lock and tout­ing con­ser­vat­ive gov­ernors.

The tele­vi­sion ad and the over­seas trip are sponsored by Perry’s new non-profit, Amer­ic­ans for Eco­nom­ic Free­dom, which will al­low him to travel and pro­mote his eco­nom­ic re­cord as he weighs a pres­id­en­tial cam­paign.

“Wash­ing­ton needs to change. But the pres­id­ent keeps play­ing polit­ics,” Perry says in the spot. “Con­ser­vat­ive gov­ernors are re­form­ing taxes and reg­u­la­tions, help­ing small busi­nesses grow, cut­ting and bal­an­cing budgets.”

Next up: Perry re­traces his steps to the state that holds the first nom­in­at­ing caucus, with a speech to the Polk County Re­pub­lic­an Party in Iowa on Nov. 7.

“He’s act­ively con­sid­er­ing it, and I think he’s the most un­der­rated pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate who could win,” said Henry Bar­bour, an ex­ec­ut­ive com­mit­tee mem­ber of the Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee and the neph­ew of former RNC chair­man Haley Bar­bour.

Perry’s last run star­ted strong but began to un­ravel quickly after a no­tori­ous, clumsy mis­take in one of the 2011 Re­pub­lic­an primary de­bates, when he couldn’t re­call the third fed­er­al agency he would elim­in­ate if elec­ted. The im­pres­sion of a cam­paign simply un­pre­pared for the na­tion­al stage stuck, lead­ing many Re­pub­lic­ans to as­sume he couldn’t pos­sibly be ser­i­ous about run­ning again.

But, re­mem­ber that every GOP nom­in­ee since Ron­ald Re­agan ex­cept George W. Bush had run be­fore and failed. Con­sider that the gov­ern­ment shut­down has con­vinced many Re­pub­lic­ans that their next nom­in­ee will not come from Wash­ing­ton. (Al­though Perry is un­likely to be the only gov­ernor in the mix; Chris Christie of New Jer­sey, Bobby Jin­dal of Louisi­ana, and Scott Walk­er of Wis­con­sin are also po­ten­tial 2016 con­tenders.)

The un­der­pin­ning of Perry’s next cam­paign would be the con­trast between his suc­cess at re­cruit­ing com­pan­ies to Texas and the Wash­ing­ton dys­func­tion that has shuttered the gov­ern­ment and pushed the na­tion to­ward de­fault.

“It’s al­ways dif­fi­cult to make a second first im­pres­sion, but if things con­tin­ue to un­ravel in Wash­ing­ton, Gov. Perry’s mes­sage would be very ap­peal­ing,” said Dave Car­ney, a seni­or ad­viser to Perry’s 2012 cam­paign. “The ques­tion is wheth­er he’ll be able to get new folks to re­place donors who feel they’ve been there, done that, and I’m sure that’s part of his ef­fort of go­ing around the coun­try.”

The head of the new non-profit, Jeff Miller, is a ma­jor Re­pub­lic­an fun­draiser from Cali­for­nia who has re­lo­cated to Aus­tin and be­come one of Perry’s closest polit­ic­al ad­visers. In an ef­fort to bet­ter school him­self in do­mest­ic and for­eign policy, Perry has vis­ited the Hoover In­sti­tu­tion, a Cali­for­nia-based con­ser­vat­ive think tank, and huddled with former Sec­ret­ary of State Henry Kis­sing­er at his New York City of­fice. He already looks smarter; The New Re­pub­licob­served he’s been wear­ing “hip­ster-pro­fess­or­i­al glasses” in re­cent pub­lic ap­pear­ances.

“He’s not just sur­round­ing him­self with the good ol’ boys who ran his cam­paigns for gov­ernor and then ran his cam­paign for pres­id­ent with the same ar­rog­ance that a lot of in­cum­bents run with,” said Cali­for­nia-based Re­pub­lic­an con­sult­ant Bob Schu­man, who backed Perry in 2012. “I think at the end of the day, he’ll be a ser­i­ous pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate.”

One of the most ob­vi­ous chal­lenges for Perry if he de­cides to run will be rais­ing enough money to fuel a na­tion­al cam­paign. This time he’ll be do­ing it from out­side the gov­ernor’s man­sion and try­ing to con­vince sup­port­ers who in­ves­ted in him be­fore that he’s worth the risk. Perry came in fifth place in the Iowa caucus and sixth in the New Hamp­shire primary. He vowed to com­pete in South Car­o­lina but ul­ti­mately dropped out be­fore the vote.

“Among most of the people I’ve talked to who were big fun­ders last time, there’s dis­be­lief that he’s really go­ing to run again,” said Re­pub­lic­an con­sult­ant Barry Ben­nett, who ad­vised a su­per PAC that backed Perry’s 2012 bid. “The cam­paign came on so strong and then it was so cata­stroph­ic. It’s not like he ran a good race and fin­ished second.”

What We're Following See More »
IT’S OFFICIAL
Trump to Nominate Carson to Lead HUD
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

As has been rumored for a week, Donald Trump will nominate Ben Carson, his former rival, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In a statement, Trump said, "We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."

Source:
TOO COSTLY, SAYS GREEN PARTY
Stein Drops Pennsylvania Recount
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Supporters of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on Saturday withdrew a last-ditch lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court aimed at forcing a statewide ballot recount, another major setback in the effort to verify the votes in three states that provided President-elect Donald Trump his margin of victory. Ms. Stein’s campaign announced in a statement Saturday that the Pennsylvania lawsuit had been dropped after the court demanded that a $1 million bond be posted by the 100 Pennsylvania residents who brought the suit."

Source:
ANOTHER MORNING TWEETSTORM
Trump Threatens 35% Tariff on Companies that Move Overseas
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a series of early-morning tweets on Sunday, Donald Trump threatened companies that attempt to relocate out of the country. "Any business that leaves our country for another country, fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the U.S. without retribution or consequence, is WRONG!," he wrote. "There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35% for these companies."

Source:
EASEMENT DENIED
Army Corps Stopping Work on Dakota Pipeline
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Army Corps of Engineers has decided to deny the easement for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the National Congress of American Indians said in a statement Sunday. The decision would essentially halt the construction of the oil pipeline right above the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and it also comes as demonstrators across the country flocked to North Dakota in protest."

Source:
LOSES REFERENDUM VOTE
Italian Prime Minister to Step Down
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will submit his resignation today, after a referendum vote went against his side. The development represents yet another win for populism around the globe, as the populist 5 Stars Movement, Renzi's chief rivals, took 60 percent of the vote. Renzi claimed the reforms "were vital to modernize Italy."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login