GOP presidential frontrunner Rick Perry attacked one of his opponents for the first time on the Iowa Caucus campaign trail. Still reeling from the pile-on he faced from most of the field in Monday’s debate, the Texas governor went on the offense. His target was the candidate he views as his biggest threat in the Republican primary: Mitt Romney.
“Government-mandated, government-run health care is part of what he put in place as the governor of Massachusetts,” Perry said. “I think it’s very important that we put someone as our nominee who does not blur the lines between President Obama and the Republican Party.”
Perry also localized the issue, claiming Iowans are paying the price for Romney’s decision. “Romneycare has driven private insurance costs up by $4.3 billion in Massachusetts,” Perry said. “It’s cost taxpayers in Iowa and across this country nearly $4 billion in Medicaid and Medicare costs. This isn’t just about the state of Massachusetts. It’s also costing you.“
More than 200 attendees packed the Greene County Fairgrounds in Jefferson to hear Perry, as well as local GOP candidates. He did not confirm his attendance until Monday, but helped the county GOP attract a large crowd.
Perry did not disappoint. He worked the room for several minutes, shaking hands and meeting individually with half the crowd before the event got underway. His speech was interrupted by applause several times. The Texas governor received standing ovations at the beginning and end of his 15 minute dialogue.
The first half of Perry’s speech was critical of Barack Obama’s failures to turn the economy around. He then successfully tied Obamacare to Romneycare. “You can’t live free in this country when the federal government takes over 1/6th of our economy and violates the sanctity between the patient and the doctor,” Perry said to applause.
Mitt Romney supporters handed out fliers to attendees contrasting the two candidates records and statements on Social Security. The Texas governor avoided discussing that issue. However, along with critiquing Romneycare, Perry drew a stark contrast between his job creation record in Texas and Romney’s in Massachusetts. “One of my opponents in the Republican primary, while he was the governor of Massachusetts, their jobs creation in that state was 47th in the nation,” he said.
Perry also rebutted one of Romney’s attacks from Monday’s nationally televised debate. “He said, Governor, when you get four aces in your hand, you think you’re good at poker. There are some folks back in Texas that were a little offended by that. We work hard in Texas. We put good, hard, practical principles in place. That’s the 13th largest economy in the world.”
Perry has several Iowa campaign stops scheduled for Friday, including an evening visit in Council Bluffs. Local Minutemen say they plan to protest outside that event, pointing out Perry’s record on immigration.
Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com
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