Perry pushing 'outsider' label, hoping for third or better in Iowa

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on December 27, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 27 at 10:54 PM

DALLAS - With a week until the caucuses, Gov. Rick Perry says Iowa Republicans should back him because he hasn't worked in Washington, and being an insider is worse than a party label.

"If we replace a Democratic insider with a Republican insider, do you think we're really going to change Washington D.C.? No. No way," Perry said Tuesday in a campaign stop at Main Street Cafe in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Perry hopes his "outsider" message blends nicely with the historically low approval ratings for Congress and pulls voters behind him.

Literally backing him Tuesday was Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known for his tough enforcement on illegal immigrants.

"We will secure that border," Perry told the crowd. "We will shut it down within one year after my hand comes off that Bible."

Arpaio's had his own trouble on immigration recently, with the Justice Department accusing him of unconstitutional racial profiling against Latinos. He denies it.

Regardless, Perry needs the help because of what many Iowa voters think of his support in Texas for in state college tuition for illegal immigrants.

"Rick Perry got defined negatively in Iowa by his performance," said Dr. Jim Henson, part of UT-Austin's Texas Politics Project. "On top of that, his immigration stance was very unpopular in Iowa."

Perry hopes for at least a third place finish as he rails on Washington - the popular theme that carried him to re-election last year.

"You have my back on January the third, and I'll have your back for the next four years in Washington D.C." Perry said.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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