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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 30 August, 2014

New US Republican presidential hopeful used to be on Al Gore’s team

Rick Perry has previously campaigned for Democrat Al Gore, but is now the ‘rightwing’ governor of Texas. He’s thought to be an ideal Tea Party candidate.

 Texas Gov. Rick Perry gives a thumbs up as he takes the stage at The Response, a call to prayer for a nation in crisis in Houston last week
Texas Gov. Rick Perry gives a thumbs up as he takes the stage at The Response, a call to prayer for a nation in crisis in Houston last week
Image: AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File

RICK PERRY, THE man who’s being touted as a possible Tea Party favourite used to be part of Democrat Al Gore’s team.

The Guardian reports that there are still grudges held about Perry’s switch to the Republican party. Perry’s embrace of the Tea Party philosophy is also a bone of contention.

Perry isn’t officially a candidate for the presidential election race in 2012 yet, but he is expected to fare well among the Republican electorate, who have shown in recent polls that they’re underwhelmed with the current crop of candidates.

Publicly, the field is welcoming Perry to the contest, but privately the candidates are discussing how to revamp their strategies for winning the GOP nomination. Perry has has been described as a “telegenic Texan” who is credible on social conservatives’ top issues and who hails from a state where jobs have grown.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has said that he knows Perry will be a strong candidate, while a spokesperson for Michele Bachman has said that her campaign has discussed strategy should the Texan governor enter the race.

Reuters reports that there are concerns about Perry’s Democrat roots though. The so called anti-tax movement are wondering what to make of him. He did once support Al Gore and his stance on climate change, and spoke favourably about healthcare reform efforts.

According to the Guardian the economy will be Perry’s talking point when he announces his intention to run this weekend, and he’ll point towards creating jobs in Texas and balancing the state budget.

Republican candidate Mitt Romney probably has the most to lose when Perry enters the race.

“Our view is the more the merrier,” Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom said as it was disclosed that Perry would visit the leadoff caucus state of Iowa on Sunday, a day after back-to-back appearances in New Hampshire and South Carolina. ”Mitt Romney got into the race because he felt that what was needed was someone with a long record of experience in the private sector.”

It was a sign of how Romney, a successful businessman who founded a venture capital firm before entering politics and serving one term as governor, intends to contrast himself with Perry, who has never held a private sector job and has held elected office or government positions for the last 27 years. And it also may have been a sign of just how seriously Romney’s team is taking the Texan.

- Additional reporting by AP

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