ABC’s Michael Falcone and Arlette Saenz report:
Ready, aim fire. That’s apparently Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s idea of relaxation before returning to the campaign trail this weekend.
Ahead of Saturday night’s ABC News-Yahoo-WMUR debate in New Hampshire Perry took a few moments to himself at an Austin-area shooting range.
“Just relaxing a bit @ Red’s Range before we leave for New Hampshire!” @governorperry tweeted Friday along with a photo of himself wearing a green sweatshirt and a baseball cap with a firearm in hand.
On the campaign trail, Perry, a staunch defender of second amendment rights, has not been shy about talking about his “long love affair” with guns.
“It was a long love affair with a boy and his gun that turned into a man and his gun, and it turned into a man and his son and his daughter and their guns,” Perry told reporters before a pheasant hunting trip with Iowa Rep. Steve King in October. “It’s, I think, one of the great American traditions is taking your family hunting.
And Perry often boasts about the time he allegedly shot a coyote who threatened his daughter’s dog while on a morning run.
“You know the second amendment allows me to go to jogging with my daughter’s dog over here and if it coyote comes out, I can take care of it,” Perry said at the Des Moines Register Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair in August.
In a 2010 KTRK interview during his gubernatorial race, Perry called the shooting range “my golf.”
On Friday, Perry showed up at Red’s Indoor Range, which according to its website, “has been in the shooting range and retail firearms business for over 20 years, proudly serving central Texas with two high-quality indoor shooting facilities as well as two retail locations with extensive inventories of firearms, ammunition, and accessories.”
Perry has decided not to compete actively in New Hampshire where a new poll shows him at the bottom of the GOP field with 1 percent, preferring to turn his attention to the contest in South Carolina instead. But Perry appears to have an uphill climb in the Palmetto State too. A newly-released poll there also found him bringing up the rear with 5 percent support in a state where he once led.