Perhaps nobody at the Conservative Political Action Conference this week revved up the crowd as much as Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R). Not Chris Christie, not Bobby Jindal, not Marco Rubio -- not even Ted Cruz.
And Perry did it with a half-full room, speaking at 9 a.m. Friday, when many CPAC attendees were likely tired, hungover or both.
A tweet from CNN's Dana Bash summed it up well:
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) March 7, 2014
And here's an appropriate GIF:
So is it time we start to reevaluate the conventional wisdom that Perry isn't a top-tier (or even, some would say, credible) presidential candidate in 2016? Should the newly bespectacled and cowboy boots-less Texas governor climb The Fix's list of the top 10 potential GOP candidates (he's at No. 10)?
Not just yet.
The fact is that Perry knows how to give a good speech. He thrives on crowds like this one and at the Republican Leadership Conference, where he has delivered stemwinders that thrilled the crowd just as his speech Friday did. (Here's my recap of his 2011 RLC speech.)
Perry did not lose in 2012 because he couldn't give a speech. He lost because that's only the first step to viability. He lost because he was bad at debates -- and that was the case well before his "oops" moment sealed his fate -- and didn't adjust well to retail campaigning.
Perry also had some unhelpful issue positions when it comes to Social Security and tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. And those aren't going away.
Perry's speech Friday is likely to lead people to give him a second look. And given his demonstrated fundraising ability and his connection with the GOP base, nobody should be dismissing Perry outright.
But a speech is a speech.