Perry lays out jobs, energy plan as message is redirected




Posted on October 14, 2011 at 7:39 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 14 at 8:01 PM

DALLAS - On Friday, Governor Rick Perry called for a new energy plan that he said would be a big step toward reviving the nation's economy.

Perry promises 1.2 million new jobs and scaled back federal regulations.

The plan includes expanding energy production on federal lands, like Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Plus, increasing off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. But Perry said he would continue the ban on drilling in Florida's Everglades.

Critics, both Republican and Democratic, are already attacking the proposal. And for the second week in a row, a planned big moment to help reset the Perry campaign misfired.

This time Perry's wife caused the headline.

With a steel plant near Pittsburgh as a backdrop, Perry said his new energy policy peels back environmental rules, including those for greenhouse gases, and seeks more domestic oil, gas drilling and coal use to create jobs.

Perry said much of the action could be taken by executive order and without congress.

"A big part of the solution is right under our feet and right off our coast," Perry said. "It can be done without being mired in Washington gridlock."

Two months into his presidential campaign, this was Perry's first big policy roll out after GOP voters pressed him for details how he'd create jobs.

But Republican rival Mitt Romney's campaign claimed the plan formed 1.2 million jobs over 13 years and is not fast enough.

And on a taping of Inside Texas Politics that airs Sunday at 9:00 a.m. on WFAA, a leading Democratic state senator criticized relaxing environmental rules.

Long time Perry foe Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, said, "To the extent that we continue to pollute our environment then that ends up leaving a legacy of basically unsafe conditions, environmental conditions for generations yet unborn."

But after Dallas Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress caused a stir last week calling Romney's Mormon faith a "cult" as Perry made a renewed pitch to Christian conservatives, Perry's wife, Anita, overshadowed the energy speech.

She told South Carolina GOP voters, "We're being brutalized by our opponents, and our own party."

Her comments Thursday interrupted Perry's jobs message, as morning show interviewers asked him whether he agreed with her comments that the debates are unfair and Perry is criticized for his faith.

"I'll stand by my wife I think she is right on both cases," Perry said.

He has another debate Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Perry's performances have not helped him.

But then he'll lay out another part of his plan to improve the economy on Oct. 26 in South Carolina, where he hopes to rebuild voter support.