WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Perry of Texas on Sunday sent some of his clearest signals of interest in a 2016 presidential bid, joking wryly about his “botched” run in 2012 but then adding that “I think America is a place that believes in second chances.”
Appearing on the NBC program “Meet the Press,” Perry defended his state’s use of the death penalty as “appropriate and humane,” even after the bungled execution in Oklahoma last week. He called for a greater national focus on job creation and the underemployed, particularly women. And he criticized President Barack Obama for a “one-size-fits-all” approach to solving problems perhaps best left to the states.
But as Perry begins traveling across the country and abroad to extol the vigorous Texas economy and raise his national profile, he chose not to deflect discussions about his presidential aspirations.
Asked about what many saw as his “botched” run in 2012 - when he was tripped up in part by an agonizing memory lapse during a nationally televised debate - Perry chuckled and said, “I would tend to agree with them on the botched effort side of it.”
But he went on to talk about “second chances,” and added, “I think that we see more character out of an individual by how do you perform after you fail and you go forward.”
The governor said that in his travels around the country he would talk about “how do we make America more competitive” and “how you get Americans back to work” - themes that clearly extend beyond the borders of Texas.
Perry’s term - he took office in 2000 and is the state’s longest-serving governor - ends in nine months, and he said in July that he would not seek re-election.
With Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, considered a presidential hopeful, and former President George W. Bush saying last week that he hoped his brother Jeb would seek the office, Perry was asked whether there was “room in Texas for all of you in the presidential race.”
His reply, delivered with a confident smile: “It’s a big state.”