The Rick Perry who took the stage at the Williamson County Republican Reagan Day dinner Monday night seemed energized, not defeated, in what was his first public speech since dropping out of the presidential race last month.
I’m not slipping off into the sunset. I’m not riding off into the west . . . We’ve got plenty of work to do right here in the state of Texas. And I got plenty of fight left in this old 61-year-old body.
Perry drew upon the Aggie philosophy on losing to explain away his performance on the trail: “We’ve never been outscored; we just ran out of time.” He added that he “wasn’t used to running out of time,” alluding to the fact he had never lost another race for office.
Dallas Morning News‘ Wayne Slater pointed out that Perry leaned upon many of the lines from his stump speeches from the campaign trail, including one about Americans not being able to “afford four more years of his misguided socialist policies.”
Radio reporter Scott Braddock found Perry at ease back in his natural habitat:
Sounds like Gov. #RickPerry is back in his comfort zone: Suburban Austin.
— Scott Braddock (@scottbraddock) February 7, 2012
While KUT’s Ben Philpott saw this as a campaign speech:
Yeah, this is a Presidential campaign speech. So get your #RickPerry2016 hash tags ready.
— Ben Philpott (@BenPhilpottKUT) February 7, 2012
The Texas Tribune‘s Jay Root noted that Anita Perry struck a similar tune in a Fox News interview. “I’d do it all over again,” Anita Perry said. “I hope he will.”
In the same interview, Rick Perry said he had not left “the fight,” the Houston Chronicle‘s Peggy Fikac reported. “I just went home and rearmed and reloaded my mags, and I’m going to be fighting on a different front,” Perry said.