A Revved-Up Rick Perry Woos a Conservative New Hampshire Crowd

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Rick Perry gave the crowd tonight at the Cornerstone Action Dinner a peek at a different Rick Perry than the one that’s been on display in recent debates and television interviews.

Perry, who has received criticism over his lack of energy in some debates and speeches, adopted a more lively tone as he spoke to the conservative advocacy group, despite having to miss his Texas Rangers play in game seven of the World Series.

“Holy mackerel, I’ve held up my whole week,” Perry said as he recounted the prior night’s World Series game six. “I’ve held up my whole year, and we roll in here last night and, you know, at [a Rangers lead of] 7-4, and it’s awesome. It’s all going to be over with. The Texas Rangers, after 50 years, they’re going to win a World Series. Oops.”

The St. Louis Cardinals came back multiple times in dramatic fashion Thursday evening and won the game 10-9 in 11 innings, forcing a seventh and deciding World Series game tonight.

As he joked with the crowd of approximately 450 people, Perry compared the slogan of the state of New Hampshire to that of the Alamo.

“This is such a cool state,” he said. “I mean, c’mon. ‘Live free or die.’ You gotta love that right? I come from a state, you know, where they have this little place called the Alamo and they declared, ‘Victory or death.’ We’re kind of into those slogans – ‘Live free or die.’ ‘Victory or death.’ ‘Bring it.’”

Perry carried his energetic tone throughout the speech as he touted the new tax plan he unveiled earlier this week. His campaign even distributed at each seat a sample postcard people could use to file their taxes under the proposed 20 percent flat tax system.

“I have a great respect for the New Hampshire model,” he said. “You think about no state income tax, no state sales tax. If you do that right-to-work thing, then you are going somewhere. You can put those big signs up, big neon signs up on the border of this state that say ‘open for business,’ and they will come.”

Though Perry was in Mitt Romney’s backyard, he called out only one candidate by name – Herman Cain – and criticized Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, which Perry argued would not play well in a state with no sales tax.

“That plan I just shared with you doesn’t force the Granite State to expand your tax footprint, if you know what I mean - like 9 percent expansion,” Perry said to laughter. “I love Herman. Is he the best? I just try to have fun with him. He’s a great and interesting guy. And thank you, Herman, for helping pay for the event tonight.”

Herman Cain for President was a gold sponsor for the Cornerstone Action dinner Friday night.

Perry spent the remainder of his speech expressing his commitment to enhancing “policies that make our families stronger.”

“As a society, we have to stay in for the principle that every life is worth living regardless of the circumstance,” he said. “In America, it’s not where you are from. It’s where you’re going that matters. And as Americans, we must affirm daily the value of life not just in our Declaration of Independence but in the way we live our lives.”

Perry accused some candidates of espousing anti-abortion values just for political reasons, not because it comprises their core beliefs.

“For some people, for some candidates, for an election, the issue of life is a slogan for the campaign,” he said. “It’s how to get some votes. To me, it’s about an enduring principle that innocent human life should be protected in all forms and at all stages of life.”

The Texas governor lambasted President Obama for providing federal grants to Planned Parenthood and employed a similar line to one used by Rep. Michele Bachmann when urging voters to oust the current resident of the White House.

“We must make President Obama a one-term president,” Perry said.

Perry, who filed his paperwork to formally run in the New Hampshire primary earlier Friday, boasted of the promise of America as he ended his speech.

“I’m for saying it loud and saying it proudly. We are the land of the free. Let’s let America be America again and again, be the land of the free,” Perry said.

And with baseball still on his mind, Perry asked someone as he exited the stage if they knew the score of the game.