Outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to the Republican National Committee
He delivers plenty of red meat to his audience, but gives no clues about his 2016 plans
Rick Perry used his final public address as Texas governor on Friday to sharply criticize President Barack Obama’s stewardship of the country and called on fellow Republicans to articulate a plan to voters explaining how the GOP will turn the country around.
“What is needed at this time in history is a clear vision for the world with America leading again, and freedom on the march again,” Perry said Friday afternoon in a speech to the Republican National Committee. “What is on the ballot in 2016 is a choice whether we are going to … rise to the challenge of defending Western values or accept the decline of Western civilization, because those who had the most to lose did the least to preserve freedom.”
Perry, who delivered his remarks from behind a podium, reading from prepared notes, was at times halting in his speech. But he delivered heaps of political red meat to the state party leaders and activists sitting in the audience. Not once did Perry, who is considering a possible White House run, mention any of his possible opponents for the Republican nomination during his speech, and he refrained from doing so when he spoke afterward to reporters.
“I’m not going to go back and rehash the 2012 campaign,” Perry said when asked what was Mitt Romney’s biggest mistake as presidential nominee. “I am not sure that is particularly of great utility. We need to be talking about the future and laying out a good bright vision for this country and how to get people back working again, how to get Washington to focus on the few things it needs to do and do rather well. Get our foreign policy back to where our allies know we are going to be standing with them and our enemies fear us. That is what we need to focus on.”
Perry sidestepped a direct question about what type of candidate Romney would be if he decided to seek the GOP nomination again.
“Whenever someone becomes a certified official candidate I’d be more comfortable making a statement about him,” Perry said. “I think whether it is Jeb [Bush], or it is Mitt or whoever it might be, adding quality people to the field raises the level.”
In his speech, Perry did not necessarily present policy solutions, but rather critiques of Obama on everything from the President’s handling of the economy and energy policy to foreign affairs. The Texas governor specifically chastised Obama for failing to travel to France for a unity march that drew leaders from around the world, who came come together to condemn the slaying of 12 people by terrorists at Charlie Hebdo magazine.
“When leaders of the world gather to stand against terrorism, the president of the United States needs to be there and he needs to be standing in the front of that march,” Perry said.
Perry did highlight the Texas economy and held it up as an example of how jobs should be created and copied throughout the nation.
“Our formula for success is simple: Keep taxes low, implement smart regulations,” he said. “You have an educated workforce and stop lawsuit abuse at the courthouse. That is the formula. It is simple.”
Before heading into a private reception to meet people attending the RNC’s Winter Meeting, Perry, who is leaving office in a few days, was asked what his next job would be.
“I will call you when I get that all figured out,” he said.