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Dewhurst: Perry Called to "Lead in Dark Hours"

Gov. Rick Perry today made his first public appearance since news broke about his Saturday announcement. As Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, the nonpartisan event didn't keep the governor and his supporters from dropping more hints.

Governor Rick Perry, Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst after their first weekly breakfast meeting saying they will work together on the state budget.

Gov. Rick Perry today made his first public appearance since news of his plans to "remove any doubt" about his White House ambitions broke Monday. And the governor and his supporters kept dropping hints.

The event, a summit hosted by the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, hosted lawmakers and policy experts from both political parties. But that didn’t stop attendees from making highly suggestive statements, starting with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s introduction.

Audio: Ben Philpott's story for KUT News

“I am more convinced than ever that there is no such thing as a coincidence, that when a nation like America comes to a crossroads in dark hours, proven men and women, tested men and women, are called — not just to stand in the gap, but to lead in dark hours," Dewhurst said. "Rick Perry is such a leader.”

Most of Perry’s speech focused on jobs and the relatively strong Texas economy.

“Jobs are and always have been the fundamental building blocks of a healthy community,” Perry said. “Jobs bring security, they bring pride, they bring further opportunity.”

Perry attacked government programs and President Obama’s stimulus spending. He never mentioned the president by name but referred to “those Keynesians” in Washington, an attempt to smear the economic philosophy of the Obama administration.

"An activist federal government, intruding on environmental policy — they’ve been dictating education policy, taking over health care, even interfering with the right of a company to locate a plant in a right-to-work state, as is the case of Boeing in South Carolina,” Perry said, referring to a new Boeing Dreamliner plant that was recently completed outside of Charleston.

The National Labor Relations Board filed a formal complaint against Boeing for moving production of the facility from a union plant in Washington to nonunion South Carolina. The case is still pending, but Boeing has announced it will start taking applications for 1,000 jobs on Saturday.

It just so happens that Perry will be in the state the very same day — when he is expected to make clear that he intends to run for president.

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