Update, 4 p.m.:
DEWITT, Iowa — During a stop to shake hands and visit with Iowans along a main street in the small city of DeWitt, Perry told reporters that his goal was to come in first in the Iowa caucuses. But even if he doesn’t come in as high as third, he said, he’s still “moving on” to primaries in other states.
“Anyone who says we’re going to be one, two, three, four or five is probably making wild conjecture guesses,” Bob Haus, the chairman of Perry’s Iowa campaign, told the Tribune.
Haus said the current fluidity of the race in Iowa is unlike any election cycle he has experienced. “That’s why things like this bust tour are just so critical,” Haus said, referring to Perry’s ongoing bus tour through the state.
Though Perry is not — and is not particularly close to — leading in any of recent Iowa polls, Haus said he believes the bus tour has generated positive momentum for the campaign.
He identified Perry’s repeated call for a part-time Congress as being a message of particular resonance for Iowans.
On the stump today, Perry said that a governing body like the Texas Legislature, which only meets for 140 days every other year, helps stave off the excessive influence of the lobby as seen in the nation’s capitol.
When asked if the influence of lobbyists was not as big an issue in Austin, Perry told reporters that the Texas Capitol and Washington, D.C., are very different places. He said it was not an issue in Austin, “period.”
As for failing to secure the endorsement of the Family Leader, an influential conservative group in Iowa that announced this morning a decision to remain neutral, Perry said he was not upset because he had not been expecting it.
Perry also said he was not concerned about the current tenor of the GOP race. “As long as no one's misstating the facts, then I don't consider that to be negative," he said.
As Perry made his rounds with potential caucus-goers and spoke to reporters, the latest high-profile addition to his bus tour, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, stood at his side.
Of Jindal’s role in the campaign, Haus said, “I think Gov. Jindal can speak to … that outsider message of what does a state governor really do."
MAQUOKETA, Iowa — Gov. Rick Perry has a new sidekick on the campaign trail in Iowa, a man he calls “the kind of neighbor all of us long to have.” That's Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Jindal quickly proved his value during the duo’s first stop on Tuesday, as the Perry campaign continues its bus tour through the state. During a question-and-answer session with the audience, Perry was asked if his flat tax plan would include the standard deduction in the current tax system.
After Perry first indicated that it wouldn’t, Jindal reminded him that the plan actually raises the standard deduction to $12,500 per person in a household. “Thank you for correcting me on that,” Perry said to Jindal. “Not that I ever make a mistake.”
As Perry’s opening act, Jindal also brought a new enthusiasm to the candidate's introduction. At previous stops along the bus tour, Perry has been introduced as “America’s jobs governor.” Jindal introduced him as “the next president of the United States.”
Speaking to a room of about 70 people, Jindal laid out his reasons for supporting Perry, including that his counterpart understands that “you can’t tax your way to prosperity,” comprehends the importance of “cutting spending living within your means” and has "led the effort against excessive regulations coming out of Washington, D.C.”
He also contrasted Perry’s decade of experience as governor of the state of Texas with President Obama’s pre-presidential resume.
“Let’s be honest: He gives a great speech,” Jindal said of Obama. “Let’s also be honest: He hadn’t really run anything until he became president of the United States."
Jindal will be traveling with Perry’s campaign today and Wednesday.
Of course, most of the questions Perry will continue to handle on his own. When asked if the U.S. Department of Education, which Perry wants to do away with, was necessary to maintain national education standards, Perry said the idea was “just nonsense.”
Perry believes states are capable of setting their own standards, and said he finds the notion that they need a federal agency to ensure quality offensive. "It offends me," he said, "because what they’re saying is, ‘You don’t care about your children enough that you’re going to put the competition in place, the standards in place to have the skilled workforce."
When asked about congressional term limits, Perry asserted that turning Congress into a part-time body similar to the Texas Legislature, which meets every other year for 140 days, would lead to self-limiting representatives and also reduce the influence of the lobby.
“I am not a fan of term limits,” said Perry, who is the longest-serving governor in Texas history. “If you just want to say term limits will address your concerns, I use California as Exhibit A. They have term limits, and their state is really in great debt and great turmoil.”
Perry’s first appearance with Jindal went smoothly, despite a small group of local Dubuque University students who showed up with handwritten signs to protest Perry’s arrival.
One of them, Trey Taylor, a 19-year-old from Maquoketa, said he was particularly upset by Perry’s controversial ad that questioned the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and alleged that Obama was waging a “war on religion.” Taylor’s sign said “Not Again.” It was, he said, a reference to the country's string of Texas presidents.
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