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Rick Perry to Kick Off Campaign Saturday

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By Doug Powers  •  August 12, 2011 09:21 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

It’s no secret that Texas Governor Rick Perry intends to run for president, but now it looks like Perry will kick off his 2012 campaign tomorrow in South Carolina. He’ll then travel to New Hampshire followed by a few days in Iowa, at least according to the Associated Press:

Months behind other GOP candidates, Rick Perry has something most of them don’t: Buzz. The Texas governor will enter the race Saturday with splashy appearances in South Carolina and New Hampshire.

At the same time, he is putting together what looks a lot like a traditional presidential campaign. The path he hopes will lead to the Republican nomination starts here, in the leadoff caucus state of Iowa, with a message of jobs and values as he tries to set himself apart from GOP front-runner Mitt Romney.
[…]
“We cannot and must not endure four more years of rising unemployment, rising taxes, rising debt and rising energy dependence on nations that intend us harm,” Perry is to say Saturday in Charleston, S.C., according to remarks prepared for delivery.

Notice I didn’t say Perry will formally announce his candidacy, because I don’t quite know what’s going on with the formals and informals. Though Perry will by most accounts enter the race this weekend, a “formal” announcement could be coming next week in Houston — or maybe not:

Politico, the New York Times and the Statesman of Austin, Texas reported that Perry would make his plans to seek the nomination known on Saturday, though they suggested he would likely stop short of a formal announcement. Statesman reporter Jason Embry Tweeted late Monday, “I’m hearing from several GOP sources there will be a formal announcement of Perry’s campaign next Wednesday in Houston.” A Perry advisor, however, told CBS News: “We won’t be making much news in Houston next week.”

To-may-toe, to-mah-toe. Bottom line: Perry’s running, and the dynamic of the GOP race will immediately change a great deal:

With Texas Gov. Rick Perry widely expected to announce his plans for a presidential bid this weekend, he’s still sitting pretty near the top of the GOP pack, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll released today.

The poll finds 15% of Republicans and right-leaning independents picked Perry as their top choice for the nomination — just two points behind frontrunner Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor’s slim lead is within the survey’s two-point margin of error.

Perry was in an almost identical polling position just last month, when he trailed Romney 14% to 16% in another CNN/ORC survey.

By the way, for Perry, the phrase “laser-like focus” takes on a whole new meaning.

If you’re not very familiar with Rick Perry, here’s a terrific speech he delivered at CPAC earlier this year:

*****

Check back in tomorrow and we’ll catch up on the Perry announcement, Iowa straw poll results and more.

Update: Here’s a good reason for conservatives to like Perry: You’ll never see him on a love seat next to Nancy Pelosi in a global warming PSA. Sure, he was Gore’s Texas campaign manager in ’88 (which will be a sticking point for Perry), but I don’t think Gore was nearly as nuts then.

Update II: Text of Perry’s speech Saturday is here.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Posted in: 2012 Campaign

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