COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – With less than three weeks until the Iowa caucuses, Texas Gov. Rick Perry , labeling himself as a “conservative fighter,” looked to inject a Texas sized jolt into his campaign with an old-fashioned bus tour, which he kicked off here with a town hall at Bayliss Park Hall.
“I’m a conservative fighter. I will get up and fight every day, and I am a Washington outsider,” Perry told the crowd of around 75 Iowans packed into the small town. “I’m not afraid to step on some toes if that’s what’s required.”
In speeches in recent weeks, Perry has adopted a populist tone, lambasting Wall Street and painting himself as the Washington outsider ready to shake up the nation’s capital.
“Changing one Washington insider for another Washington insider is not going to change a thing,” Perry said. “Taking a Wall Streeter and sending them to Washington, D.C., is not going to change a thing. What this country’s got to have is an outsider – an outsider that is willing to go in there and have the courage and the vision, the stamina and the strength to change Washington, D.C.”
On a cloudy day across from Bayliss Park, Perry pulled up to the event in a bus bearing the slogan, “Faith, Jobs and Freedom.” Throughout the bus tour and with advertising on television, Perry will attempt to sell his Christian values to evangelicals who drive voting in the state.
“I happen to believe that America is ready for someone who’s got the values that Iowans share,” Perry said, “somebody that grew up on a small farm, somebody that understands what hard work is all about, somebody that understands what serving their country is all about.”
Perry was joined at the town hall by Marine Capt. Dan Moran, a Perry supporter who received a Purple Heart after being one of two survivors in an IED explosion that killed three others in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2006. Moran’s speech argued that Perry’s experience in the military and ability to boost jobs and foster a strong economic environment in Texas inspired his decision to back the Texas governor’s presidential bid.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that our values - jobs, freedom – it’s not just a slogan, it’s the American way of life,” Moran said. “I know that, with every fiber of my being, I wouldn’t be here just like Gov. Perry to speak the truth. I wouldn’t be here if I did not believe that he is the best person to be president of the United States.”
In an ABC News/Washington Post poll last week, Perry stood fourth among likely Iowa caucus goers with 12 percent support, trailing frontrunner Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.
Perry’s bus tour will roll through more than 40 cities in Iowa, heading up north and across the state before rounding through the South with its last stop in Newton, Iowa, before Christmas break. The bus tour picks up again in Council Bluffs, Iowa, two days after Christmas.
The first bus tour of Perry’s campaign, featuring the slogan, “Get America Working Again,” kicked off at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, in early August as he traveled to the eastern part of the state for two days.
Later this afternoon, Perry will walk through town square in Harlan, Iowa, and host a meet-and-great at Cronk’s Café Restaurant and Lounge in Denison, Iowa.