The Washington Post

Rick Perry kicks off Iowa bus tour, wants voters to take a second look

Texas Gov. Rick Perry urged Republican voters to take another look at his candidacy Wednesday as he kicked off a bus tour through Iowa aimed at reviving his presidential campaign.

Republican presidential candidate and current Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks at the start of his two-week bus tour of the state of Iowa in Council Bluffs, Iowa, December 14, 2011. (JEFF HAYNES/REUTERS)

“I’m not running for president to make friends,” Perry told several dozen voters who had filled the hall. “I’m running to help save this country and put values back in the White House, about faith and freedom.”

Perry has been struggling in the polls but has rebounded somewhat recently. But the Texas governor, who has been prone to gaffes and turned in poor debate performances, acknowledged to the crowd that to truly regain ground he has to win back voters who abandoned him along the way.

“I hope some of you all are taking a second look,” he said.

Though the event was billed as a town hall meeting, Perry spoke for less than 30 minutes and took no questions. He mingled briefly afterwards, posing for pictures and signing autographs. Voters in the audience acknowledged they were undecided about their choice for GOP nominee but said Perry was worth considering.

“He sounds like a very honest person,” said Joe Gascoigne, 53, a car salesman from Council Bluffs. “He’s not a good debater but he’s good in person.”

Until recently, Gascoigne had been strongly considering Newt Gingrich. He has since concluded that the former House speaker is too much of a political insider.

Newt Gingrich: Bomb thrower

Sandhya Somashekhar is the social change reporter for the Washington Post.


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