Texas Gov. Rick Perry is spending time in Iowa, possibly in hopes of seeking support for another run at the presidency and calling for Republicans to "find our middle ground" so the party can retake the White House in 2016.
"I don't think somebody's going to stand up and say, 'send me to Washington, D.C. and I'll fix everything, unless fixing everything means we're going to try to make Washington as inconsequential as we can in your life," Perry said in a wide-ranging interview with The Des Moines Register this week
Perry in 2012 was considered a "conservative's conservative," and was a favorite among tea party supporters, evangelical Christians and others. But there are plenty of people with that description among the 2016 Republican possibles, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul,and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Perry's new strategy, The Register reports, seems to center around rebranding himself as an economic policy savior who will transfer power to the states.
But Iowans have a long memory, including that of Perry not being able to remember the third cabinet agency he sought to eliminate, said Carol Crain, vice chairwoman of the Scott County, Iowa Republicans.
"If he can make us forget that gaffe and offer new enthusiasm and inspiration, he may rekindle his base of support, which originally was pretty strong," she said.
Perry hasn't backed down from most of his stances over the past four years, especially where gun control issues are concerned. He's been traveling the country for most of this year in an attempt to lure weapons businesses
away from states where strict gun control laws are in place, and any presidential bid will likely keep him strongly on the side of gun rights.
And he hasn't officially decided
if he'll seek the presidency, but instead told The Register that he wants to reconnect with people who didn't get his message the first time around.
“I don’t think we had enough time to go have that thoughtful conversation where people could really absorb, ‘Here are these policies and here are the results of these policies, and is that how you make your family happier?’ ” he said.
Perry also said he's not concerned about a potential split between the GOP's tea party side and more mainstream Republicans.
"This isn’t a purity test," said Perry. "I think that most Republicans do fall into the camp of, ‘Listen, if you don’t win, you can’t govern,’” he said. “Let’s win the elections.”
Perry said he doesn't think a politician from either side of the Republican fence has a better chance in 2016.
"I think it takes all of them working together," said Perry. "I'd rather have a half a loaf than no loaf. And so, finding our middle ground — listen, I’m a big believer that most Republicans, most conservatives don’t think that the answers are going to be found in Washington, D.C.”
Perry said Washington does need to address energy, the tax code, and jobs.
"It wouldn’t just kick-start, I think it would explode the American economy,” Perry answered. “People are ready to invest, but we’ve got tax policies and regulatory policies in place that are very onerous to our country right now.”
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