Rick Perry

Yahoo! News and ABC News staff

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his candidacy for the White House on Saturday, Aug. 13, a move that detracted from the Ames Straw Poll which was held the same day.

“It is time to get America working again,” Perry proclaimed in a speech in Charleston, S.C. “That’s why, with the support of my family, and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today my candidacy for President of the United States.

“It is time for Americans to believe again – to believe that the promise of our future is far greater than even the best days of our past. It is time to believe again in the potential of private enterprise, set free from the shackles of an overbearing federal government. And it is time to truly restore our standing in the world and renew our faith in freedom as the best hope of peace in a world beset with strife.”

Perry, 61, became governor of Texas in 2000 when George W. Bush resigned to become president of the United States. He started his political career in 1984 as a Democrat but switched to the Republican Party in 1989. He is a fiscal conservative and an opponent of President Obama’s health care reform, which Perry labels socialistic.

As governor, Perry boasts of overseeing the creation of nearly 1.1 million jobs since he took office.

A Methodist and self-described "man of faith," Perry has issued proclamations for days of prayer for rain and supports teaching creationism alongside evolution in Texas schools. Perry also is a strong opponent of gay marriage and abortion.

Perry and his wife Anita have two children, Griffin and Sydney.


Profile Details

  • Birthplace: Paint Creek, Texas
  • Family: Anita Thigpen Perry (wife); Children: Griffin and Sydney
  • Religion: Methodist
  • Job before candidacy: Texas governor.
  • Political experience: Has never run for president; governor for 10 years; former member of the Texas House of Representatives.
  • Most recent book written: "Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America From Washington" (2010)

More on Rick Perry: He has not lost an election in three decades of working in government.

Pros: Compelling economic story to tell about Texas and job growth. Tea Party appeal and credentials. Strong donor base. Executive experience as longest continuously serving U.S. governor. Proven campaigner who repeatedly has defied the political odds.

Cons: "My way of the highway" style may turn off independent voters, who are desperate for Washington to stop fighting and start compromising. Jobs record isn't without some blemishes, including tax credits and subsidies for employers who ultimately created few jobs. Has spent more than 25 years giving his opponents a treasure trove of material to mine for controversy.

Perry on the Web: