In a move likely deigned to ensure his name is not lost in the shuffle during tonight’s Republican presidential debate, in which he will not appear, top Rick Perry aides confirmed today that the pro-life Texas governor will run for president.
Perry will join a crowded Republican field, but one where GOP voters may still be seeking a top alternative to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as the nominee to take on pro-abortion President Barack Obama. Perry has a long pro-life record and has received top grades from pro-life groups in Texas.
Perry was slated to give a speech to the Red State gathering on Saturday, an event which features conservative political activists from across the country. Perry is expected to officially announce himself that he will be running for the Republican nomination, but aides confirmed to AP and Fox News today that Perry is indeed running. Perry will make “a definitive announcement that he is in the 2012 race for the presidency Saturday,” they told Fox — saying he will not engage in an exploratory committee but will embark on an official campaign soon.
CNN also confirmed the sources, saying, “Texas Gov. Rick Perry will announce that he is running for president on Saturday in South Carolina, a Republican familiar with the plans told CNN. Previous reports had indicated that Perry would use a speech at the conservative RedState Gathering in Charleston to make his intentions clear, but would stop short of officially announcing a presidential bid. But the Republican source told CNN that Perry will be in the Republican presidential race on Saturday.”
In an interview with Time magazine today, Perry all but said he would be seeking the GOP nomination. Part of the interview appears below and Perry talks about his conservative views, top issue as a presidential hopeful and his endorsement of New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the 2008 presidential election.
Q: You’ve talked about how all of the social issues are important and this election is going to be about what the voters care most about: economy and jobs. Is it your hope, if you become a candidate, that even voters who disagree with you on social issues will find your record and argument on jobs so compelling that they vote for you even though they did disagree with you?
A: Well, I’m pretty sure there has never been a candidate [where] all the people agree with his or her positions on the issues. And there are single-issue voters, and I understand that. I respect that. I’ve run three times in Texas and I would suggest to you, Texas is somewhat of a microcosm of the rest of the country, particularly in this first decade of the 21st century. We are very, very cosmopolitan, if you will, very urban, but we have our rural areas. We have an incredible diversity of people [who] live in this state. This is not the Texas of my father. It is a very diverse state. Running for the governorship of the state of Texas, I recognized all the diversity of thought.
So, what’s the most important thing that’s facing this country? It’s getting this economy back. I am a pro-business governor. I will be a pro-business President if this does, in fact, ensue and I’m blessed to be elected President of the United States—unabashedly [so] because the fact of the matter is, there’s nothing more important than having an environment created by government that allows for the private sector to risk its capital to know that they have a good chance of having a return on the investment. Because at that particular point in time, the men and women who are out of work today can be back employed. They can take care of their family. They can do the things they desire in their lives. And without that strong economy, America can’t be strong militarily. We can’t have, frankly a presence in the world that we need to have. It all goes back to having an economy that people are comfortable with—they can risk their capital and they’ll have a return on the investment. We don’t have that today.
Q: There are people who’ve looked up—even though you’re not yet a candidate—your record and your endorsement of Mayor Giuliani in the last campaign, some of the positions you’ve taken on immigration, etcetera, and they say Rick Perry is not actually as conservative as he says. What do you say to those people?
A: Well, you know, I stand on my record. I thought Mayor Giuliani did a wonderful job of managing a city. He was very strong militarily. He was as strong on crime as any big city Mayor has ever been. He and I were 180 degrees on social issues, but he would put strict constructionists on the Supreme Court, which dealt with those social issues. I happen to be comfortable that I was making the right decisions and that as President, when it comes to those social issues, it’s very important to have that strict constructionist view of who you put on the Supreme Court. Because they’d look at the constitution and say, you know what, that issue dealing with abortion is not in the constitution. We will put it back to the states. Now if the states want to pass an amendment and three quarters of the states want to pass an amendment to make this be a change of our United States constitution, then just follow that process. And I’m a big believer that that’s how our country should work.
Q: So if you got in, would you be the most conservative candidate in the race? Or as conservative as everybody else?
A: Yeah I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. But again, we go back to what’s the most important issue here? I mean if somebody wants to go back and find, oh here’s a little spot right here—you know, I was a democrat at one time in my life. I was 25 years old before I think I ever met a person who would admit being a Republican. So the key is, I’ve got a record. And that record, particularly when it comes to the most important issues in this campaign, which is creating the climate of America that gives incentives to job creators to risk their capital and create jobs for our citizens, I will put that up against anybody who’s running and particularly against this President we have today, whose jobs record is abysmal.