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Rick Perry Launches Bid for President

Rick Perry Launches Bid for President


Texas governor Rick Perry announced Saturday that he was entering the presidential race in a move expected to shake up the dynamics of the slow-to-gel Republican nomination contest.

The New York Timesreports on the announcement by Perry at the Red State Gathering, a meeting of conservative bloggers in South Carolina. His statement, which came on the same day other Republican candidates including Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum were competing in the Iowa Straw Poll, seemed designed to draw the spotlight to the fiscal and social conservative who last week hosted a prayer rally with the antigay American Family Association.

"I came to South Carolina because I will not sit back and accept the path that America is on, because a great country requires a better direction, because a renewed nation needs a new president. It is time to get America working again, and that's why with the support of my family and unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today as a candidate for president of the United States," said Perry, according to the Times, which also reported that he cited President Barack Obama's foreign policy and said, "America's standing in the world is imperiled."

Perry, 61, is serving his third term as governor of Texas and he has chaired the Republican Governors Association. A prodigious fund-raiser considered by some to be the natural successor to George W. Bush, last week he came in second in a presidential race poll of GOP and independent voters, only two points behind Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.

Following his announcement, Perry is scheduled to head to New Hampshire, another important early battleground, before traveling to Iowa on Sunday. The governor did not participate in the Republican debate on Thursday, but his anticipated entry into the race loomed over the field of eight other hopefuls.

Perry, a Methodist who attends an evangelical Christian megachurch, hosted The Response, a prayer rally last Saturday in Houston that drew some 30,000 attendees around the theme of a "nation in crisis." The event generated criticism and protests over its backing by the American Family Association, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a "hate group" because of its consistently false and harmful statements about LGBT people.

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Julie Bolcer