URBANDALE, Iowa - Texas Go. Rick Perry accused President Obama of putting politics ahead of troops at an early morning stop on Wednesday, criticizing the president for not holding a welcome home parade as the final soldiers returned from Iraq this month.
"As a veteran, as the commander-in-chief of our forces in Texas, some 20,000 young men and women who've been deployed multiple times, who I've had the opportunity and the great privilege to go visit in their theaters and welcome them home, have sent them off with ceremonies, it really disturbs me that nearly after nine years of war in Iraq, that this president wouldn't welcome home our many heroes with a simple parade in their honor," Perry told a crowd of 200 caucus goers at the Westside Conservative Club breakfast at the Machine Shed restaurant here. "Mr. President, our soldiers come first and it comes before party politics. We need to welcome our soldiers home, give them that parade. Give them that pat on the back. Tell them thank you for the freedom that we have in this country."
Perry has long criticized President Obama's decision to disclose an end date for pulling U.S. troops in Iraq, arguing that the president put political expediency ahead of the safety of American soldiers.
"Most importantly you don't tell the enemy what your timetable is going to be," Perry told reporters in October, shortly after Obama set the deadline. "This administration has signaled, telegraphed its intentions all too often, and that's just unacceptable. The last thing that you want to do is put those men and women's lives in peril, and I think that's what the president's done by making a political statement to his base that he's going to be out of Iraq on a date certain."
The Texas governor railed against the president for requesting a $1 trillion hike in the debt ceiling along with slamming his healthcare plan, saying "Obamacare is going to destroy healthcare in this country."
Perry shared a conversation he had with a cancer patient yesterday who told the Texas governor she feared for her life if Obama's healthcare plan stays in place.
"She came up to me and she said, 'Governor, if you don't get rid of Obamacare, I'm dead,'" Perry relayed. "She said, 'They will never, they will never take care of me,' and that's a powerful testimony by that lady. We need a program that gets back to where it's the doctor and the patient who's going to be making the decisions about healthcare not some bureaucrat, not some insurance company."
Perry, who has refrained from mentioning his opponents by name during his speeches this week, made references to two of his opponents - Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.
"If you want to live in a state that's got you know relatively high taxes and a regulatory climate that's pretty onerous and may have an individual mandated insurance, you know move to Massachusetts," Perry said referencing the healthcare plan implemented by Romney while he served as governor of Massachusetts.
"You don't have to vote for a candidate who will allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon to wipe Israel off the face of the earth because America will be next," Perry said referencing Paul's stance on Iran.
Perry has three more events in Iowa this afternoon - two meet and greets in Indianola and Pella and a town hall in Oskaloosa.