Photos: Rick Perry

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  1. Rick Perry, then the Agricultural Commissioner of Texas, applauds with other officials during a 1992 event for President George H. Bush, second from left. Perry began his political career in the Texas House of Representatives in 1985 and served three terms before becoming the Agricultural Commissioner which he held from 1991- 1999. (Marcy Nighswander / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. President-elect George W. Bush gets a hug from Texas Lt. Gov. Rick Perry following his resignation announcement in December 2000. Perry was sworn in as governor of Texas later that day. (Paul Buck / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Perry married his childhood sweetheart, Anita Thigpen, at left, in 1982. They have two children, daughter Sydney and a son, Griffin, at right. (Harry Cabluck / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Perry fields questions about the planned Trans Texas Corridor in 2002. The 145 billion-dollar program that would have added highways, rail and data lines was criticized for being a 'land grab' and a potentially lucrative deal for the privately owned company Cintra. After much debate, the project was killed in 2010. (D.J. Peters / Tyler Morning Telegraph via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. President George W. Bush takes the stage to address a Republican fundraiser for Perry in June 2002 in Houston. (Tim Sloan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Perry debates Democrat Tony Sanchez during the 2002 governor's race. Perry easily won the election, his first of three. (Tony Gutierrez / Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Perry (center) attends a memorial service for the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia. NASA Mission Control lost contact with the Space Shuttle Columbia during the reentry phase on February 1, 2003 and later learned that the shuttle had broken up over Texas. All seven astronauts on board were lost. (Bill Ingalls / NASA via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Perry, center, casts the votes on behalf of the delegates from his state during the 2004 Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Tim Sloan / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Perry signs an abortion consent bill in June 2005. The bill restricted abortion late in a pregnancy and required minor girls to get parental consent for an abortion. (LM Otero / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Perry announces a special legislative session in June 2005. He vetoed the state's $35.3 billion public education budget and called lawmakers back to the Capitol to finally find a solution to the school finance dilemma. In 2001, Perry set a state record for the use of the veto, rejecting legislation 82 times. By 2005, he had used his veto power 133 times. (Thomas Terry / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Perry outlines his border security plan during a news conference in June 2006. Accusing the federal government of failing the state, Perry toured South Texas, selling his $125 million state plan for "neighborhood watch" surveillance cameras and better-funded border sheriffs' and police departments. Perry has opposed the creation of the physical barrier along the Mexico-U.S. border. (Mark Lambie / El Paso Times via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Perry made national headlines when he issued an executive order requiring the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV), an anti-cancer vaccine, for sixth-grade girls starting in September 2008. Some conservatives argued that the vaccine promoted promiscuity and took power out of the hands of parents. (Harry Cabluck / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Perry attends a naturalization ceremony in 2007 where more than 1,000 Austin residents representing 85 countries took the Oath of Allegiance to become United States citizens. Perry supports the Arizona immigration ruling, the most restrictive anti-illegal immigration measure in America. (Taylor Jones / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Republican 2008 presidential hopeful and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani appears with Texas Governor Rick Perry during a campaign stop in Ft. Myers, Florida. When Perry joined the Texas House of Representatives in 1984, he was a Democrat and supported Al Gore in the 1988 presidential election. In 1989, he switched parties and became a Republican. (Daniel Barry / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain waits to speak with Texas Gov. Rick Perry in Round Rock, Texas, in 2008. Perry initially endorsed Giuliani for president but after the former New York City mayor bowed out of the race, Perry put his support behind McCain. (Ben Sklar / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Perry speaks appears on the screen at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. During college, Perry was a member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and served in the Air Force upon graduating. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. President George W. Bush participates in a briefing on Hurricane Ike damage with Perry in 2008. The storm resulted in the largest evacuation of Texas in the state's history. Later, during Hurricane Rita in 2005, Perry ordered contraflow lane reversal on several major highways to aid in the evacauation. (Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Perry speaks to the crowd during a "Don't Mess With Texas" tea party rally in Austin in April 2009. He was criticized after he said after the event that Texans might want to secede from the United States. "If Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that?" he said. "But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot." (Harry Cabluck / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Perry listens as President Barack Obama addresses the Fort Hood community during a memorial service for the soldiers and civilians killed in a shooting rampage there on November 5, 2009. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison share a light moment during a Texas GOP gubernatorial debate in 2010. Perry easily defeated Hutchison in the hard-fought primary. (Louis Deluca / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Piper Palin and musician Ted Nugent appear on stage during a rally for Perry's re-election in 2010. A few weeks prior, Perry invited his friend and musician Ted Nugent to perform at his inaugural gala, where Nugent appeared onstage wearing a t-shirt with the Confederate flag, (Gary Miller / FilmMagic) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Perry, a strong supporter of gun rights, fires a six-shooter pistol during a promotional event with Texas Motor Speedway in April 2010. (Tom Pennington / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Perry, center, sings his alma mater's fight song before an NCAA college football game between Texas Tech and Texas A&M, in 2010. A graduate of Texas A&M, Perry was a member of the "Aggie Yell Leaders", or male cheerleaders, elected by popular vote of the student body. (Dave Einsel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Perry embraces his wife Anita after being elected to his third term by defeating Democratic challenger Bill White in 2010. (Ben Sklar / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Perry signs copies of his second book, "Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington" during a stop in Tyler, Texas in 2010. (Jaime R. Carrero / Tyler Morning Telegraph via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, surrounded by his family, waves to the crowd after announcing his run for president, Aug. 13, 2011, in Charleston, S.C. (Alice Keeney / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. During a televised GOP debate on CNBC, Rick Perry struggles to remember what three government agencies he had promised to shut down if elected president, as Teexas Rep. Ron Paul watches. Eight candidates took part in the 'Your Money, Your Vote: The Republican Presidential Debate' at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, on Nov. 9. 2011. Later Perry admitted he had 'stepped in it.' (Jeff Kowalsky / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry pauses during a news conference in North Charleston, S.C., on Jan. 19, 2012, where he announced he is suspending his campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich. His son Griffin is at left. (David Goldman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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Video: Perry criticizes Obama, Fed chairman

  1. Closed captioning of: Perry criticizes Obama, Fed chairman

    >>> good evening. it's the summer of 2011 , but right about now, it sures seem the summer of 2012 . we don't vote for president again for a good long while and yet all the candidates are out on the road. the president, the entire gop field, and right about now, the rest of the country is learning what texans already know about their governor, what he says, what he does, how he does business and it's givant rest of us something to talk about and watch closely right here in the middle of august. and as proof that the campaign is already on, today's debate had to do with money, name calling and whether or not the president of the united states loves his country. we begin here tonight with nbc's andrea mitchell .

    >> reporter: campaigning today in iowa at the world's largest truck stop, rick perry was not backing down about the storm he created by taking aim at fed chairman, ben bernanke .

    >> this guy prints more money between now and the election, i don't know what y'all would do to him in iowa, but we'd -- we would treat him pretty ugly down in texas . i mean, printing more money to play politics at this particular time in american history is almost treacherous -- or treesonness in my opinion.

    >> reporter: perry 's comments also crossed the line for some republicans. fellow texan karl rove say it had is not presidential.

    >> it was a very unfortunate comment. you don't accuse the chairman of the federal reserve of being a traitor to his country, of being guilty of treeson. and suggesting that we treat him pretty ugly in texas .

    >> reporter: in a rough and tumble few days, perry , a former air force pilot, has also repeatedly questioned president obama 's patriotism.

    >> the president had the opportunity to serve his country, i'm sure at some time, and he made a decision that that wasn't what he wanted to do.

    >> reporter: is he saying the president doesn't love america?

    >> you need to ask him.

    >> reporter: late today, the president responded to wolf blitzer on cnn.

    >> be a little more careful about what you say. but i will cult him some slack. he has only been at it for a few days now.

    >> reporter: perry 's texas swagger is his calling card , bred of a hardscrabble boy hood on the family farm and aggie root at texas a&m . perry 's chief claim to challenging president obama is the texas jobs record. perry says his state produced 43% of all the jobs created across america in the last two years. with an unemploy rate at 8.2%, well below the national average, partly because of the oil and gas boom, partly because of growing trade with mexico, and federal defense spending in texas . critics point out that texas has the highest percentage of residents with no health insurance and ties mississippi for the percent tam of low-wage jobs. still, those who know perry say don't underestimate him.

    >> anybody who sells him short and thinks that he is a light weight is making a big mistake .

    >> reporter: perry had repeated opportunities all day today to back off his comment about the president and the fed chairman and he did not. clearly showing how he plans to separate himself from the other candidates, like fellow tea party -supported candidate michele bachmann and clearly, mitt romney . brian?

    >> andrea mitchell starting us off in d.c. tonight. andrea, thanks.

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