Former Texas governor Rick Perry addressed the 2015 Congressional Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 27 in an apparent effort to revive support for a presidential candidacy. He gave a rousing speech in which he focused on foreign policy and economics. Opening his speech, Perry said “I come here today to speak plainly about the times we live in. At no time in the last 25 years has the future been so uncertain and the world more dangerous than it is today. On three points we must be clear: first, our country has entered a time of testing and our political leadership is failing the test. The American people are seeing a president who bows to political correctness in denial of the threats that we face, making grave miscalculations that make the world less safe. This administration’s incompetence has allowed the emergence of ISIS: they are in American tanks, they are using American weapons, and ISIS began taking cities that just a few years ago were secured by American blood.”
Perry defined ISIS as “a religious movement that seeks to take the world back to the 7th century. Their aims are apocalyptic. They mean to cleanse to world, not just of Christians and Jews, but of Muslims who disagree with their extreme ideology. And it is their stated vow to kill as many Americans as possible. It is time for the American people to hear the truth. The president declared that the advance of ISIS has been stopped. And that is simply not true.”
On economic issues, Perry lauded his record of job creation as Texas governor while also calling for the XL pipeline to be built as a boost to the national economy. With regard to immigration, Perry called for securing the US/Mexico border as a first and necessary step to stem illegal entries into the country. Pointing his finger at the Obama administration's claims of economic recovery, Perry said "I'm going to say this quite plainly. The unemployment rate is a sham,...It leaves millions of American workers uncounted."
Perry was a popular governor of the Lone Star State, having had the longest term of any governor in Texas history. He also served two terms as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. After starting a presidential campaign the previous year, Perry suspended his campaign in January 2012 and eventually endorsed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Rumors have flown since then that he is planning another White House bid for 2016.
Perry stumbled during a presidential debate in November 2011 when he could not name one of three federal agencies he would jettison as president. The Texas would later identify the third agency as the Department of Energy.
Since then, he has been dogged by an indictment by a Texas grand jury on felony charges that he had abused his gubernatorial powers. Perry was accused of having coerced a district attorney (a Democrat) who had been convicted of a DUI to resign, after allegedly threatening to veto funding for state public corruption prosecutors. However, since then the indictment has been criticized from various political perspectives, and from major newspapers. For example, the New York Times wrote that the indictment "appears to be the product of an overzealous prosecution," while famed Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz opined, "The two statutes under which Gov. Perry was indicted are reminiscent of the old Soviet Union — you know, abuse of authority. The idea of indicting him because he threatened to veto spending unless a district attorney who was caught drinking and driving resigned, that's not anything for a criminal indictment. That's a political issue."
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