NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Texas Gov. Rick Perry argued during an annual conservative confab on Thursday that Republicans failed to win the White House in 2008 and 2012 because they didn’t nominate sufficiently conservative candidates.
In an apparent jab at 2008 nominee John McCain and 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, Perry said President Barack Obama’s election and re-election isn’t a sign that conservatism is dying – but a sign that Republicans nominated people who weren’t conservative enough.
Perry unsuccessfully ran for president in 2012, but dropped out after a poor showing.
“The popular media narrative is that this country has shifted away from conservative ideals as evidenced by the last two presidential elections,” Perry argued. “That’s what they think, that’s what say. That might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012.”
Most of Perry’s speech, however, was to talking up his state and sharply criticizing President Obama, especially over the automatic tax cuts that went into effect this week.
After strutting out on stage to country music, the Texan said: “I come from what some might seem to think is a foreign country. We have a balanced budget. We have a surplus. We are creating more jobs than any other state in the union and we’re doing this with a part time legislature that meets for only 140 days every other year.”
Perry reiterated criticism about the Obama administration’s response to the automatic spending cuts that went into effect this month, referring to the release of illegal immigrants because of budget cuts as a “federally sponsored jailbreak.”
“It’d be laughable if he hadn’t taken it once step too far, dangerously releasing criminals onto our streets to make a political point,” he said.
“When you have a federally sponsored jailbreak — and don’t get confused, that’s exactly what it is, a federally sponsored jailbreak — you cross the line from politics of spin as politics of a craven form of cynicism.”
The Texas governor also slammed Obama for shutting down White House tours because of the budget cuts.
“Now he’s decided to shut down White House tours. Apparently now the only folks who can get a tour of the White House are those who contributed a half million dollars or more.”