Perry Testing Prospects in N.Hampshire 08/22 06:27
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry is testing his presidential
prospects in New Hampshire as he defiantly dismisses a recent indictment and
tries to convince voters that he's an improved version of the 2012 candidate
who stumbled badly.
Perry was scheduled to be in the key early voting state on Friday and
Saturday, where he was to meet top Republicans and attend at least a half-dozen
events, including one sponsored by the conservative political group Americans
for Prosperity Foundation.
Perry was indicted last week by a grand jury in Austin, Texas, on charges
stemming from his veto last summer of state funds for public corruption
prosecutors. He pleaded not guilty on Tuesday and has said he's confident the
indictments will be exposed as nothing but a politically motivated attempt at
So far, the indictment --- and Perry's response --- appear to only be
galvanizing New Hampshire Republicans, according to Steve Duprey, a GOP
national committee member and former chairman of the state party.
"I think that he is taking the right approach that it's wrong, unjust and
political," Duprey said. "Indicting the governor for vetoing funds because he
thought a convicted drunk shouldn't be a prosecutor is wrong."
Since the indictment was announced, Duprey has made the rounds, taking the
temperature of state Republicans, who say Perry's legal problem matters less
than his viability as a presidential candidate.
"Almost to a person, they go, 'Well, I didn't think he ran a good campaign
last time' but lots of people run two or three times in New Hampshire and
they're willing to give him a fresh look," Duprey said. "I'm also hearing that
he's being treated really unfairly."
Democrats, though, are using his visit to try to hang Perry around the neck
of the two Republicans likely to run for U.S. Senate and governor.
"Now that the New Hampshire Republican Party has made it clear they will
continue to welcome Perry to the Granite State despite his recent criminal
indictment, will Scott Brown and Walt Havenstein also embrace the disgraced
Texas governor?" Democratic Party spokesman Bryan Lesswing said.
Still, Duprey said New Hampshire voters were more interested in seeing
whether Perry can handle adversity this time around the way he couldn't in 2012.
"His campaign here in New Hampshire last time fell well short of
expectations, both his and New Hampshire voters," Duprey said.