ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
CORONA DEL MAR, Calif. — A day after tangling with fellow Republicans at his first debate as a presidential candidate, Rick Perry pivoted back to attacking President Obama on Thursday, dismissing the economic address he will deliver to a joint session of Congress as merely “promises” and “platitudes.”
“This president is set to give another speech tonight on jobs, but I’m telling you the promises and the platitudes that we’re going to hear are not going to cut it,” Perry said at an afternoon rally in Orange County. “This is about an administration that is the problem. That is what the Obama administration is — they are a problem for this country. Mr. President, we cannot spend our way to prosperity, it does not work.”
Perry said he has a “record of change” whereas Obama only offers “the rhetoric of change.” Though he spent most of his brief remarks assailing the president, Perry vowed to continue to contrast himself with his GOP rivals too.
“We need to have a nominee that doesn’t blur the lines between themselves and the current resident of the White House,” Perry said. “I’ll promise you one thing: I have got that contrast between Obama and myself.”
Perry, who mixed it up at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Wednesday night with the other Republican presidential hopefuls, particularly Mitt Romney, acknowledged that “we’ve got our differences.”
“We’ll talk about them,” Perry said, adding “hopefully in a very respectful way.”
“I stood on the stage last night with seven other very, very fine and great Americans and every one of them would better than what we have in the White House today,” Perry told the crowd, “any one of them.”
The Texas governor came to this Republican enclave in a largely Democratic state, calling Orange County, “a raspberry in a blueberry pie.” In baking Southern California heat, he spoke to several hundred people, many of whom held his campaign signs, at an outdoor garden supply store here.
“Last night was pretty awesome,” Perry declared to cheers.
Few in the crowd seemed to be concerned about Perry’s use of the term “Ponzi scheme” to describe Social Security despite the criticism he has been drawing even from other Republicans. (Perry did not use that phrase on Thursday.) In fact, some of his supporters appeared to be embracing “Ponzi scheme” as a rallying cry. Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, a Perry backer, who spoke ahead of the governor, praised Perry’s use of “provocative language.”
And Micki Blair, a teacher from nearby Corona, Calif. who said she was leaning toward Perry in the primary, agreed.
“I don’t think his rhetoric is too strong,” she said. “I think that people are mature, have a brain. They can figure out that if you don’t put enough in, you can’t pass it all out. It just doesn’t work that way.”
Perry will remain in California through the end of the week. He has a full schedule of fundraising events in Southern and Central California and the Bay Area.