Joe Burbank  /  AP
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 23.
updated 10/3/2011 7:23:55 PM ET 2011-10-03T23:23:55

In his first domestic policy speech as a presidential candidate, Rick Perry is outlining his record as Texas governor and accusing rival Mitt Romney of governing Massachusetts the same way President Barack Obama governs the country.

The address, set for Friday at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, discusses Perry's record on health care and the environment. But Perry offers few policy proposals, instead focusing on criticizing Obama, hitting Romney's health care law and opening a more aggressive line of attack on Romney's record on climate change.

"As Republican voters decide who is best suited to lead this country in a new direction by stopping the spending spree and scrapping Obamacare, I am confident they will choose a nominee who has governed on conservative principles, not one whose health care policies paved the way for Obamacare," Perry says, according to prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press.

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Perry contrasts Romney's plan with the medical malpractice reform he signed as governor of Texas, and argues that both Romney and Obama have governed more liberally than he has.

"What we are seeing in America today is a conservative awakening, a revival born out of a deep concern that liberals have used the machinery of the federal government to impose a nanny state that limits our freedom and that targets free enterprise," he says.

"I knew when I got into this race I would have my hands full fighting President Obama's big government agenda. I just didn't think it would be in the Republican primary," Perry adds.

The address signals that Perry plans to continue aggressively attacking his chief rival even as he faces some stumbling blocks in his own campaign. After a shaky debate performance, Perry admitted that he used "inappropriate" language when he called Republican rivals "heartless." Perry was defending a Texas law that allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state universities if they meet certain criteria.

Story: Perry says he'd stop drug trafficking, violence

As part of the offensive, Perry is turning to Romney's environmental record.

"In Texas, we've cleaned the air while creating jobs and adding millions in population. Another state — Massachusetts — was among the first states to implement its own cap-and-trade program which included limits on carbon emissions for power plants," Perry says in his speech.

Perry also accuses Romney of relying on environmental advisers who went on to work in the Obama administration. Environmental Protection Agency official Gina McCarthy, who works on clean air regulations, helped Massachusetts develop a climate plan when Romney served as governor.

Perry's wife says gov. will 'get better' in debates

Romney never signed a cap-and-trade plan for Massachusetts, though he did encourage state efforts to protect the environment. Massachusetts participated in discussions about a Northeastern regional cap-and-trade system while Romney was governor, but Romney decided not to join it.

Perry's speech comes as the presidential candidates face an important fundraising deadline Friday in the latest quarter of the campaign cycle.

Later Friday, Perry will head to New Hampshire for a town hall style meeting with voters.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Perry revamps campaign

  1. Closed captioning of: Perry revamps campaign

    >>> in d.c., topping the political headlines, rick pery's plan hitting his rivals harder as some worry that a widely planned debate performance and deflating straw poll loss have hurt the texas governor . aides insisting that the only pivot is a more aggressive campaign. joining us now, jonathan martin . this has been quite a week in republican politics. how is perry reshaping his campaign?

    >> i think they are trying to turn the page by doubling down on the attacks against romney . they are trying to focus the attention on romney 's changing stances on some issues. they are trying to look forward instead of backwards. there are a few weeks before the debate in new hampshire. a lot of the anticipation among the broader g.o.p. universe is can perry step up his game and improve his debate performance or have we seen the extent of his capacity? i think that question is looming over his whole campaign right now.

    >> his wife was out today explaning and defending his lack of experience in debating. this was anita perry in iowa this morning.

    >> he has never had a debate class nor a debate coach in his life that i know of. he realizes the last debate. he realized that. i can look in his face. he knew that. so he's going to be better prepared this time. he's going to -- in fact our son said when they do the debate prep for the next debate i want to be there. he is best when he is down as a fighter. this is his opportunity to show up.

    >> wow.

    >> is it going to be a family affair.

    >> wow. that's striking that governor perry 's wife who is a forceful figure in her own right opening up governor's perry 's office in des moines saying -- promising really that he will be better in this next debate. so, they know that he's got to improve his performance. you know, perry 's spin is i'm not the most polished debater and slick. that is a contrast with romney . but that's for public consumption. they know and i think the governor's wife let it slip that he has to improve his performance in these things or the bad because is going to be deafening.

    >> speaking of performance what did you think of chris christie 's performance at the reagan library ?

    >> it is vintage christie. this is why a lot of the folks in the g.o.p. especially money guys who are excited about the possibility of a christie candidacy. my reporting, the reporting of my colleague indicate that he is at least giving this some thought now. if smart bet that he will ultimately do it but he is giving it one final look. but october 1st is right around the corner. the calendar gets really tight here. i think he has a week, ten days at the very most to figure this thing out.

    >> we shall see in the next week to ten days. and the next debate the first week in october.

    >> yep.

    >> up there in new hampshire. could not be better timed. up at dartmouth.


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