Against the backdrop of the C130 aircraft he flew while serving in the U.S. Air Force and surrounded by Navy Seals, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry ended speculation about whether he would make a second go at the presidency on Thursday.
He argued his experience as commander in chief for one of the largest states in the union gives him a unique background within a likely dozen-plus official field. Perry detailed that he is the only candidate that has experience in both military service and the handling of regional conflicts.
Taking a shot at his fellow Republican contenders, he fired that in a post-Obama era there needs to be “clear-sight[ed] leadership” demonstrated beyond “a speech on the Senate floor.” This was an obvious reference to fellow Texan Sen. Ted Cruz and his colleagues Sens. Rubio and Paul.
Perry joins Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum as the three former candidates from previous races, all of whom enjoyed front-runner status for portion of time. But Perry’s situation is unique. Not only was his fall from grace in 2012 self-inflicted, he is also the first candidate to fall so far and run again, according to FiveThirtyEight.
But supporters argue that he deserves a second look despite the heightened competition. Redstate’s Erick Erickson points to Perry’s convincing record as governor and argues he would likely have gone on to compete with Mitt Romney for the nomination in 2012 had he not battled excruciating pain from back surgery, a reality that contributed to his dismal debate performances.
What’s more, points out Erickson, Perry adds to his strong resume the fact that President Obama’s much-touted economic rebound is almost exclusively a result of jobs added in Texas under Perry’s leadership.