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Rick Perry tells GOP in New Hampshire: We survived Carter, we’ll survive Obama

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Although he hasn’t been dominating the headlines like some of the other so-called front runners in the GOP presidential sweepstakes, Rick Perry made a credible case today at a Republican party forum that he is worthy as any candidate to be considered for nomination in Cleveland at the RNC next summer.

One thing is for sure – he’s much healthier than he was when he ran four years ago, when he was still recovering from back surgery. He was extremely energetic this afternoon, giving an intense, focused and detailed speech in which he said there was a pessimism floating through the world that could easily be corrected by the country choosing a new leader in 2016.

Gesturing with both hands frequently, Perry focused on many of the problems happening around the world, and blamed Barack Obama for all of it.

“You open up the newspaper, you turn on the TV, turn on the radio, by your device – you see individuals being led to a beach in Libya and being beheaded. You see a young Jordanian pilot being burned in front of us. You see these young Christian college kids being murdered,and there’s pessimism in the world.”

Perry said if he was in charge he would have “gotten rid” of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and would have given lethal weapons to the Peshmerga in Iraq to stop ISIS.

“There’s pessimism in the world,” he repeated several times, claiming that people from around the world were thinking, “What are we doing?”

But he promised that all was not lost. “We lived through Jimmy Carter. We can live through Barack Obama, I promise you!”

Perry boasted about the economic growth that his state saw during the same time that the rest of the country was struggling under the recession, citing how Texas grew 1.5 million jobs from December of 2007 to December of 2014, while the rest of the country was losing over 400,000 jobs.

But his closing was all about how he was as prepared as anyone in the country to handle the problems that a president must face in office. He said it was imperative that the next leader be an executive (a rebuke to Senators Rubio, Paul and Cruz), and talked about the events that happened on his watch that he was never given a playbook on how to deal with them.

“They didn’t hand me a manual that said ‘here’s how you deal with the Space Shuttle disintegrating in your state.’ They didn’t handle me a manual when Katrina came into Louisiana, and there were hundreds of thousands of people who were displaced (and came into Texas). They didn’t hand me a manual when all of those people showed up on our borders last year, or for that matter, when Ebola ended up on our shores of America, in Dallas, Texas.”

“That executive experience,” he added. “That experience that you get from those years of work are invaluable. And I think that’s what – if I decide to run, the value that I’ll be able to lay in front of the American people…”

Perry then said he was off to return home to Texas to celebrate his father Ray’s 90th birthday, a tail gunner in the U.S. Air Force who flew 35 missions over Nazi Germany during World War II..

“I happen to think today that they look up on us in silent judgement. Do we remain a nation worthy of their sacrifice?,” he asked, saying that the country needs to learn the lessons of the Greatest Generation.

“The best days of this country are ahead of us, ” he proclaimed. “The best days of the world are ahead of us.”

And with that he was off, certainly looking more energetic, focused and ready for a sustained presidential campaign – if he in fact chooses to run next year.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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