Texas Gov. Rick Perry shook up the 2012 race today when he made his candidacy official in Charleston, S.C., almost nine months after the Texan vowed he was not interested in pursuing a presidential run.
"I came to South Carolina because I will not sit back and accept the path America is on because a great country requires a better direction because a renewed nation needs a new president," Perry said. "It is time to get America working again and that's why with the support of my family and the unwavering belief of the goodness of America I declare for you today that I'm a candidate for President of the United States."
Perry, the longest-serving governor in the country who has accounted for 42 percent of all jobs created since the recession, maintained his anti-Washington rhetoric throughout his announcment speech, declaring that he will "work everyday to try and make Washington D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can."
"It's time to believe again in the potential of American enterprise set free from the shackles," Perry said. "The change we seek will never emanate out of Washington D.C., it will come from the windswept praireies of middle America, the farms and the factories across this great land."
Perry announced his candidacy at the RedState Gathering, a convention of more than 300 conservative bloggers, before a backdrop of American flags. Portraits of President Ronald Reagan and President Theodore Roosevelt adorned the room, along with paintings of the Lincoln Memorial, Statue of Liberty and George Washington crossing the Delaware River with troops.
The speech has long been on the governor's calendar, but it wasn't until this week that it turned into a platform to launch a presidential bid.
The Obama campaign was quick to respond to Perry's announcment, saying Perry is "more of the same" in a statement issued immediately after Perry's speech.
"Governor Perry's economic policies are a carbon copy of the economic policies of Washington Republicans. He pledged to support the cut cap and balance plan that would preserve subsidies for oil and gas companies and tax cuts for the wealthiest while ending Medicare as we know it, eroding Social Security, eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs and erasing investments in education and research and development," Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said in the statement.
By announcing in South Carolina Saturday, the Texas governor is throwing out the conventional political playbook as most of the Republican presidential field focuses on the Ames straw poll in Iowa.
But he won't leave the Hawkeye State completely ignored, as he plans to travel New Hampshire and Iowa by the end of the weekend, rounding out a tour of three key early states in the caucus and primary process.The Texas governor plans to ramp up his fundraising appeals in the coming weeks with the campaign hoping to net $10 million in donations in the opening weeks of his campaign.
Following his announcement, he will meet with state GOP leaders before flying to New Hampshire for a house party hosted by Republican state Rep. Pam Tucker. Tucker was among the delegation of New Hampshire Republicans who met with Perry in Austin late last week.
"Gov. Perry is a very personable individual, does well one-on-one, as well, and in New Hampshire, I think he'll resonate well with voters," Tucker told ABC News.