Former Texas Governor Perry launches bid for US president

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry announced on Thursday he will pursue the Republican presidential nomination again in 2016, seeking redemption for a fumbled White House bid in 2012 and adding to a crowded field of conservative candidates. -- PHOTO: B
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry announced on Thursday he will pursue the Republican presidential nomination again in 2016, seeking redemption for a fumbled White House bid in 2012 and adding to a crowded field of conservative candidates. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

ADDISON, Texas (Reuters) - Former Texas Governor Rick Perry announced on Thursday he will pursue the Republican presidential nomination again in 2016, seeking redemption for a fumbled White House bid in 2012 and adding to a crowded field of conservative candidates.

Perry said at a rally in Addison, a Dallas suburb, that he would boost the US economy and improve homeland security, and he pointed to his record in Texas as proof he could do it.

"We will unleash an era of economic growth and limitless opportunity," Perry said. "It can be done because it has been done in Texas."

The longest-serving governor in Texas history, Perry's 2012 candidacy fell apart in an embarrassing Republican debate performance when he failed to remember the third of three government agencies he wanted to scrap, blurting out "Oops."

Perry, 65, has presented himself since as a more thoughtful, policy-oriented candidate this time around.

Wearing his signature thick-framed glasses, Perry used an agriculture summit in March in the early voting state of Iowa to try to showcase his grasp of foreign policy, one of his weak points the last time around.

On the campaign trail, Perry is expected to tout low taxes in his home state. On Thursday, he said Texas created 1.5 million new jobs in his last seven years in office.

He promised to freeze pending regulations from the Obama administration and repeal the president's signature healthcare and financial reform laws.

Perry also has made an early start to fundraising, naming more than 80 major donors who will support his campaign or SuperPAC.

Perry's campaign might suffer from a felony case against him on charges of abuse of power over his veto of funding for a state ethics watchdog. Perry has said the case is a political ploy. "Rick Perry is the most accomplished of all of the folks that are potentially running in 2016," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell said.

The Republican presidential field already includes nine announced candidates and others are considering bids. "It's very hard in politics to get a second chance to make a first impression," O'Connell added.

Supporters at the launch event on Thursday, which was held in an airplane hangar and featured barbecue and country music, said they were not deterred by Perry's past missteps. "He has the credentials, and he is a true conservative,"said Marty Klindt of Dallas.