NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) lit up the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday with an impassioned anti-Democratic Party speech that could easily be seen as a tease for the beginning of his second presidential bid.
"It is a good morning in America," Perry began before saying America "is in peril" due to President Barack Obama's policies.
In this Nov. 7, 2013 file photo, Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP/Justin Hayworth, File)
"This economic recovery is absolutely stagnant," he said. "Our place in the world is weakened. So, I have a simple solution: It's time for a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas."
Perry went on to contrast the policies in states run by Republican and Democratic governors. He said "red states" (including his own) have cut taxes, saved on budget and resisted business regulation while "blue states" have government "playing an increasing role" in Americans' lives.
Perry gave positive name checks to his fellow Republican governors Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Scott of Florida.
On the other hand, he said, states with Democratic governors, like New York, are "implementing the tired old recipe of back-breaking taxes."
Of Obama, Perry said his economic polices have stifled growth and his foreign policies have "emboldened our enemies."
"I'm here to say we don't have to accept recent history," Perry said. "We just need to change the presidency. It's not too late for America to lead in the world, but it starts with leading at home."
Perry's speech climaxed with a plea for "Washington to focus on the few things the Constitution establishes as the federal government's role." He said that's "defense, a cogent foreign policy. And what the heck, deliver the mail. Preferably on time and on Saturdays."
The government should "get out of the health care business," Perry said, increasingly animated. "Get out of the education business."
Perry concluded, telling the almost entirely conservative audience, "You represent the new hope that American can be great again."
Perry has hinted he's open to a 2016 presidential bid. He failed to secure the Republican nomination in 2012, losing to Mitt Romney.