Texas Gov. Rick Perry wants to be taken seriously as a top-tier candidate for president in 2016.
Just take a look at the Republican’s moves over the last week.
On Wednesday, Perry met President Obama on the tarmac of Dallas Love Field airport, a meeting the governor was able to use to get press for beating up on Obama over border issues while simultaneously looking presidential as cameras captured him riding in Obama’s limousine.
But perhaps even more telling about his apparent aspirations, Perry over the weekend waded into the foreign policy debate raging within the Republican Party by taking aim at Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, the libertarian-leaning lawmaker who is leading polls in some early nominating states.
“Unfortunately, we live in a world where isolationist policies would only endanger our national security even further,” Perry wrote in a Washington Post op-ed before saying: “That’s why it’s disheartening to hear fellow Republicans, such as Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), suggest that our nation should ignore what’s happening in Iraq.”
(Paul’s top political adviser, Doug Stafford, fired back at Perry by saying, “60,000 children just invaded Texas, and their governor has time to write an op-ed in a Washington newspaper mischaracterizing Senator Paul’s foreign policy. Perhaps he should concentrate on the invasion of his Southern border.”)
Such moves by Perry — who is retiring after serving as governor since 2000 — are notable, considering his disastrous late-entrance into the 2012 presidential campaign.
Remembered most in that campaign for his “oops” debate moment (he blanked while listing federal departments to get rid of), the governor — who now noticeably wears fashionable glasses — has been showing an energetic side that he failed to highlight in 2012.
This Rick Perry 2.0 was first noticed by conservatives at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year, where he surprisingly wowed attendees with a fiery speech that had the halls of the convention buzzing.
On Sunday, Perry appeared on Fox News Sunday, renewing his call for Obama to put National Guard troops on the border. “Pick up the phone, be a leader, make a difference,” he said. (RELATED: Perry Slams Obama’s Blame Game, Demands National Guard For Border)
What’s up for Perry next week?
He’s headed to Iowa to headline a nine-county GOP fundraiser.