A day after Gov. Rick Perry bid farewell to the statehouse, he spoke to Republicans at a national party gathering in San Diego, where he offered no specifics on his expected run for president — but alluded to the burgeoning campaign.
“This is my last public speech [as governor], so I have a few things to say," Perry said at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting. "First among them: Thank you for helping us elect a Republican majority in both houses of Congress."
“2014 was a great start,” he added. “2016 is when we finish the job.”
The speech was heavy with criticism for President Obama on foreign affairs, the economy and securing the border.
“There is nothing wrong in America that can’t be fixed with a change in leadership,” Perry said. “The next two years are about a better and brighter future and a vision to restore America’s place in the world.”
He neglected to mention any of his potential Republican rivals or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic front-runner.
Perry was not the only presidential contender to speak at the gathering. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson and newly re-elected Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spoke on Thursday, and Mitt Romney was scheduled to deliver the final speech of the event on Friday evening.
Beyond the speeches, attendees at the conference went about the implementation of the 2016 presidential Republican nominating contest infrastructure.
Party officials re-elected Chairman Reince Priebus to a third term, and the GOP asserted control over its primary schedule. The first GOP debate will be in Ohio in August – months later than the earliest debates in previous election cycles.
As for Perry, his address was heavy on policy: support for Israel, limited government and securing the border.
He also cautioned against an obstructionist course for the GOP.
“We must again be the party of ideas, the party of opportunity, the party of vision, and not merely the party of opposition,” he said.
“America is looking for a new path forward,” he concluded. “And starting today, let’s give it to them.”