On Romney’s Home Turf, Perry Avoids Using Mitt’s Name, But Slips in Dig

(Carlos Osorio/AP Photo)

Rick Perry steered clear of mentioning rival Mitt Romney by name in a speech in Mackinac Island, Mich., this afternoon, but the Texas governor did squeeze in a quick jab at Romney, a state favorite.

“No other candidate on that stage has the record that I have,” Perry said at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference. “There may be slicker candidates and there may be smoother debaters but I know what I believe in, and I’m going to stand on that belief every day. I will guide this country with a deep deep rudder.”

Perry painted himself as the only candidate who draws a sharp contrast to President Obama and one who brings a different vibrancy to the crop of Republican candidates.

“It is time for bold bright colors, not pastels,” Perry said.

Perry’s speech marked his first trip to Michigan, the state where Romney grew up while his father served as governor. The Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, which is holding a straw poll of its own this weekend, will hear from Romney this evening.

The Texas governor drew on his own familial ties to Michigan, reminiscing about his father’s trip to the state to drive back a GMC pick-up truck for his family in Paint Creek, Texas.

Perry was introduced by Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., who endorsed Perry earlier this month. In his speech Saturday, he drew on Michigan’s automobile ties to describe the congresswoman.

“I think you’re the Chevrolet of congresswomen. Like a rock,” Perry said.

Perry flew to Mackinac after spending four days among Florida voters, who witnessed a series of missteps by Perry in Thursday’s debate. Perry held a breakfast for delegates of the Presidency 5 straw poll in Orlando this morning but did not join candidates Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum in delivering speeches at the convention Saturday afternoon.

Michael Williams, who is running for Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s, D-Texas, seat in Congress, spoke to the straw poll delegates in Orlando on Perry’s behalf and tried to set straight what he called the “half truths” circulating about Perry’s immigration policy.

“There are a lot of half truths with regards to Governor Perry’s record on immigration, so let me set the record straight,” Williams said. He discussed Perry’s opposition to amnesty, fight against sanctuary city and money spent securing the border, before turning to education funding for illegal immigrants. “I want to clear up one last thing. No illegal immigrant in the state of Texas has received a handout for a free college education.”

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