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
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 »
AT LEAST NOT YET
Paul Ryan Can’t Get Behind Trump
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

Paul Ryan told CNN today he's "not ready" to back Donald Trump at this time. "I'm not there right now," he said. Ryan said Trump needs to unify "all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement" and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to "have something that they're proud to support and proud to be a part of. And we've got a ways to go from here to there."

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Trump Roadmapped His Candidacy in 2000
16 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Daily Beast has unearthed a piece that Donald Trump wrote for Gear magazine in 2000, which anticipates his 2016 sales pitch quite well. "Perhaps it's time for a dealmaker who can get the leaders of Congress to the table, forge consensus, and strike compromise," he writes. Oddly, he opens by defending his reputation as a womanizer: "The hypocrites argue that a man who loves and appreciates beautiful women (and does so legally and openly) shouldn't become a national leader? Is there something wrong with appreciating beautiful women? Don't we want people in public office who show signs of life?"

Source:
‘NO MORAL OR ETHICAL GROUNDING’
Sen. Murphy: Trump Shouldn’t Get Classified Briefigs
16 hours ago
THE LATEST
JOINS BUSHES, MCCAIN
Romney to Skip Convention
17 hours ago
THE LATEST

An aide to Mitt Romney confirmed to the Washington Post that the 2102 GOP nominee will not attend the Republican convention this year. He joins the two living Republican presidents, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, as well as 2008 nominee John McCain in skipping the event. Even among living Republican nominees, that leaves only Bob Dole who could conceivably show up. Dole did say in January that he'd prefer Trump to Ted Cruz, but his age (92) could keep him from attending.

Source:
#NEVERTRUMP
Sen. Sasse Calls for a Third Candidate
20 hours ago
THE LATEST

Sen. Ben Sasse, the most prominent elected official to declare that he's #NeverTrump, wrote an open letter on Facebook to the "majority of Americans who wonder why the nation that put a man on the moon can’t find a healthy leader who can take us forward together." Calling to mind recent conversations at a Fremont, Neb., Walmart, the senator pitted the presumptive general election battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as such a "terrible choice" that there would be an appetite for another candidate to emerge. In a parenthetical aside to reporters, Sasse ruled himself out. "Such a leader should be able to campaign 24/7 for the next six months," he wrote. "Therefore he/she likely can’t be an engaged parent with little kids." Meanwhile, his colleague Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) admitted in a private recording obtained by Politico that Trump hurts his reelection chances.

Source:
×