A nonprofit aiming to help Gov. Rick Perry gear up for another possible presidential run announced Monday he is appearing in a national advertising campaign blasting Washington while promoting GOP leadership in states around the country.
Amid the federal government shutdown and a looming debt-ceiling crisis in Congress, Americans for Economic Freedom on Tuesday will begin airing 10 days of 30-second spots on CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC. It also will have ads on the nationally syndicated radio shows of Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin.
Americans for Economic Freedom spokeswoman Sara Marie Kinney would not say exactly how much the campaign would cost, only that it involved a "high six-figure media buy."
The ads suggest that while the gridlock in Washington is hurting the economy, conservative governors are balancing budgets, creating jobs and cutting taxes. The television versions show President Barack Obama addressing Congress while Perry says in a voice-over: "Washington needs to change. But the president keeps playing politics."
A beaming Perry then appears flanked by the Texas Capitol and continues: "When I look around this country, there's another story. Conservative governors are reforming taxes and regulations, helping small businesses grow. Cutting and balancing budgets."
As images cut to people at work Perry says: "We need more of that, and less of Washington."
"This is Rick Perry trying to play politics," Texas Democratic Party Gilberto Hinojosa said Monday. "They created the mess and now they're trying to blame Barack Obama for what their own people in Congress did."
Americans for Economic Freedom is using $200,000-plus left over from a political action committee that raised millions during Perry's failed 2012 presidential bid. Perry announced the creation of the group meant to raise his national profile last month, during a trip to Missouri to lure job-creating firms from that state to Texas.
The group's CEO is Jeff Miller, a former chief financial officer for the California Republican Party, and includes board member Marc Rodriguez, chairman of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a fellow Texan. Also on the board are St. Louis beer baron August Busch III, economist Art Laffer and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose endorsed Perry in 2012 after dropping out of the White House race himself.
Appearing on conservative radio host Mike Gallagher's radio show Monday, Perry said of Americans for Economic Freedom: "These are some folks that wanted to highlight the differences in policies between the states, and identify what works to create jobs, freedom and opportunity."
He talked about how mobile the American population now is, adding that over the past decade, New York and California have led the nation in lost personal wealth per-capita, while traditionally more conservative states like Florida, Arizona and Texas have seen personal wealth per capita spike.
Perry said the U.S. should let "the states be where the real competition is. Not Washington being the be-all, end-all nanny state that they are today."
Hinojosa countered that Texans and voters across America "are tired of these games."
"I doubt very seriously that anyone will take him seriously on a national campaign in the event he decides to run for president," Hinojosa said.
The governor isn't seeking a fourth full term in office next year but hasn't ruled out a second run for president in 2016.