Perry praises NH campaigning; talks about downsizing
CONCORD - Rick Perry says he loves the close up retail politics aspect of the New Hampshire primary because "people want to feel you, hear you, sniff on you."
And the former Texas governor, who last month finished up serving a record 14-years in office, said he and his wife are getting used to private life.
"Two plus weeks ago we were living in a pretty tony address there at the governor's mansion in Texas, 10,000 square feet, a city block of manicured lawns. Now we're in a 1,400 square foot condo, with lots of boxes and four dogs and no yard. So it's an interesting transition but a good one. We're enjoying making the transition into civilian life," Perry said in a radio interview Wednesday with Jack Heath on "New Hampshire Today."
Perry, who's making moves towards launching a second campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, added that "downsizing is particularly a good thing for government to do"
He returns to the first-in-the-nation primary state next Wednesday and Thursday. It's his first trip to New Hampshire since a visit in November, days after the midterm elections.
Perry was a late entry into the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. While he initially soared in the polls, his campaign faltered, due in part to some high profile gaffes, and he ended his White House bid in January 2012, after finishing fifth in the Iowa caucuses and fifth in the New Hampshire primary. Perry, who spent little time campaigning in the Granite State, grabbed less than one percent of the primary vote.
Perry says if he runs again, things will be different this time.
"I didn't get in early. I got in late. I didn't get the real flavor and taste of the New Hampshire primary process as much as the some other candidates. That's one of the reasons why we're starting early this time."
And Perry said he'll emphasize retail politics.
"It's those town hall meetings, it's coming and sitting down with people. It's not unlike running for county sheriff, if you will, where you're really talking to people, getting asked questions across the board," Perry said. "I think that is a very, very healthy process."
Perry's radio appearance in New Hampshire came one day after the release of a NH1 Pulse Poll, the first survey in the Granite State since last Friday's announcement by 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney that he wouldn't make a third run for the White House. If Romney had launched a campaign, he would have been the firm front-runner in New Hampshire, where he's very well known.
The poll indicated Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 21% support among those likely to vote in next year's GOP primary, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 14%. Perry was in the single digits, along with the rest of the field.
Asked about Bush and Walker, Perry said "I look at whether it's Scott or Jeb, and these are good competitors," and added that all the candidates benefit from such competition.
But while he praised his fellow governors, Perry appeared to take not-so-veiled shot at some other likely competitors for the GOP nomination, first-term Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio of Florida.
"I do think that the American citizens are going to choose a proven tested executive, they're not going to take a chance on another untested inexperienced young United States senator," Perry jabbed.
Perry's radio appearance came a few hours before his Rick PAC will announce that the former Texas governor has lined up more than 80 major donors, including some of top GOP bundlers, to help him with fundraising efforts as he gears up for a presidential bid.
"It's very encouraging and exciting that so many influential leaders in this country are signing on to assist the Governor spread his positive vision of conservative values around the country," said chief Perry political adviser Jeff Miller, in a statement.
News of the donor list was first reported by the Washington Post's Philip Rucker.