Perry presses on after Iowa defeat

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on January 4, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Texas Gov. Rick Perry may be down, but he's not out.

After finishing a disappointing fifth place at the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday, Perry says he's still in the race for the White House.

He made the announcement on Twitter Wednesday morning by posting a photo of himself on a running trail. The message: "And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State... Here we come South Carolina."

That tweet confused his own staffers. They thought Perry was going to take a couple of days to reassess his campaign.

The governor instead will take a few days off in Austin, according to his campaign, and then it's off to New Hampshire for debates Saturday and Sunday nights.

By Monday, he'll be in South Carolina — at least that's the latest we've been told.

A refocused Perry said "it kind of came" to him to remain in the race during a morning run. So he got a picture and sent the announcement on his own.

Hours earlier, the scene was of Rick Perry's first-ever political defeat in Iowa.

"I've decided to return to Texas, assess the results of tonight's caucus," he told supporters in what sounded like the prelude to an end of his campaign.

By morning, Perry blamed some of his weak finish on the state he just courted. "This wasn't a hard decision. This was one of those where you take a look, you didn't do as well in Iowa as you wanted to, but this is a quirky place and a quirky process, to say the least," he told reporters.

In the South Carolina primary, Perry will compete with Newt Gingrich and especially Rick Santorum for the anti-Mitt Romney vote heavy with veterans and evangelical Christians.

"I'm going to delineate and characterize the differences in the candidates, and there are huge differences," Perry said. "These guys are all insiders."

Santorum's sudden surge left Perry little time to hit him with negative ads, but look for them to appear in South Carolina with the hope to sink the former senator and congressman.

"Just because Santorum was the flavor of the day doesn't mean Perry might not be the flavor of next month in Florida," said Fort Worth Star-Telegram political columnist Bud Kennedy.

But although he is a Southern governor, many GOP voters in South Carolina have a distaste for Perry, with recent polls showing his support in the single digits. He received 10 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses.

"I look forward to continue on the trail," Perry said.

Perry's decision to stay in the race involved more than a morning run. His staff was reportedly divided on which direction to take.

Perry's son told The Dallas Morning News that Perry talked with his wife before electing to press on to South Carolina.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

 

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