Texas Gov. Rick Perry showcased his affection for the 10th amendment, and a bit of tech-savvy in an animated speech to CPAC Friday — the first speech by a major speaker to include an explicit text message pitch from the podium.
He asked the audience to “pull out your phones,” and text “FED UP” to the number he gave. A return text from the number asks supporters to visit www.NoGovernmentBailouts.com, which features a petition to stop the “pervasive embrace of bailouts.” Though the governor has repeatedly said he will not run for president, gathering the cell phone numbers of a bunch of national activists is an interesting move. Perry said the campaign is designed to keep conservative activists informed of “what we’re doing in Texas.”
“Fed up” was the message Americans clearly sent to Washington in 2010, Perry said.
“Americans disdain big government and it cuts across party lines, I’ll tell ya that,” Perry said. “Pink slips were handed out for legislators in both political parties…It was awesome.”
Perry’s comfortable drawl and, at times, dramatic delivery—one dramatic pause was so long it suggested he might not start up again— got the crowd going as well. A generous peppering of 10-gallon-hatted Texans throughout the audience surely helped, and at least one supporter yelled, “run for president!”
The CPAC crowd was tough on speakers all day, and it was the more animated such as Perry and Herman Cain who fared better than more low-key speakers.
One audience member got a chuckle from Perry when he shouted “Secede” as an addition to Perry’s list of principles for creating a strong economy. The shout was a reference to Perry’s 2009 comment to a reporter in Texas, that “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”
Critics and his Democratic opponent in the Texas gubernatorial race said the comment amounted to a threat to secede from the union.
Perry moved on with his speech after the shout, and congratulated his fellow Republican governors, mentioning Bob McDonnell of Virginia, for following the prescription he said worked in Texas— low taxes, fair regulation, restraints on frivolous lawsuits, and accountability in schools.
“They’re following that lead— not of what you said,” Perry clarified, laughing and gesturing toward the man who’d shouted.
Perry closed with his oft-professed love for the 10th Amendment, and the ability of states to offer solutions when given flexibility and freedom. And, in what was perhaps yet another denial that he will run for president, he emphasized “governors will lead the charge for reformation in this country.”
“We can restore this nation to its preeminence in the world. There is no other greater cause in our time.”