Image: Rick Perry
Michael Conroy  /  AP
In this Oct. 12, 2011, photo, Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at GOP forum in Indianapolis. Republicans aren’t sold on Mitt Romney and they’ve been looking for other presidential candidates.)
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updated 10/17/2011 3:19:11 PM ET 2011-10-17T19:19:11

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry says his plan to expand domestic energy production could bring the United States more than a million new jobs.

Perry, the Texas governor, released an energy proposal Friday that would open up federal lands, including Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, for energy production. He also says regulation has crippled jobs and is promising to eliminate such hurdles.

Perry's speech comes as his campaign tries to move beyond some early bumps and revitalize his momentum. Shaky debate performances took away some of his early momentum. And his rivals have criticized him for not going into details on his policies.

Perry looks for a campaign reset

Perry hoped his speech at a Pittsburgh-area steel plant would calm those jitters.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Chuck’s First Read: Perry’s new strategy?

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    >>> right to my first reads of the morning. we start with rick perry on defense. his campaign faltering, perry took to the airwaves this morning in a rare media blitz for a candidate who has mostly been off limits to the press. perry wanted to talk about the energy jobs plan he will lay out just over an hour from now in pittsburgh. but it was hard for him to stay on that message. first he was tested on his slide in the polls.

    >> i don't worry too much about polls. i know a lot of people obsess with them and watch them and talk about them. i'm more worried about those people out there who don't have a job in america. within a hundred days, when i'm the president of the united states , without having to deal with congress opening up those federal lands and waters, pulling back those regulations that are killing jobs and rebuilding the epa, we can do that and get 1.2 million people working.

    >> perry was also asked to respond to these emotional comments by his wife anita , who tee teared up in south carolina while on the stump yesterday.

    >> it's been a rough month. we've been brutalized and eaten up and chewed up in the press. we are being brutalized by our opponents and our party. so much of that is i think they look at him --

    >> nbc's matt lauer asked perry if he shares those views.

    >> family members always take these campaigns a little more personally than the candidates do. i've been shot at and missed and shot at and hit for 20 years running for public office . the fact is those are just distractions. americans want to hear a conversation about who is going to get this country back working again.

    >> and perry was asked to repudiate dallas pastor robert jeffress, who called mitt romney 's mormon religion a cult. isn't a bit hypocritical to say you are targeted because of your faith when it was a surrogate for your campaign that introduced faith in the first place?

    >> i think you're stretching it to say he was a surrogate. he was picked and he made his comments on his own. we have distanced ourselves from those comments. i've clearly said that i did not agree with his comments and that stands on its face.

    >> mitt romney 's wife ann has said she's a she lion when it comes to defending her husband's record. nbc campaign correspondent weinberg caught up with anita perry on the trail yesterday and asked whether she would characterize herself that way.

    >> how do you feel when you hear what people are saying about your husband?

    >> oh, you know, i take a deep breath and really hope people will give him a fair listening opportunity to listen to what he has to say. i can't say that i'm a she lion. you know, i'm married to the man. i've known him since i was 8 years old. he is a good man. he makes tough decisions. he's a leader. i just want everybody to give a fair look at him.

    >> anita perry also aggressively defended her husband's performance in the debates and his jobs record in texas.

    >> i don't think he did near as badly as what i'm reading in the paper so i've quit reading that. we don't need a 59-point plan or a 999 plan to get america working again. because we have the formula in texas that works.

    >> there you go. the president brings his jobs pitch to michigan . after rolling out the red carpet for south korean president lee at the state dinner last night the president takes the foreign leader on a road trip . that's the reddest of red carpet as the "new york times" puts it and travels to orion township , michigan to tour a gm assembly plant that produces the new chevrolet sonic sub compact . it is an opportunity to sell the new trade agreement with south korea to a state where the unemployment rate sits at 11.2%. also, michigan is a place where if romney is the nominee it's going to be fully in play. michigan really hasn't been in play for 20 years. romney on the ballot, his father's ties, his own personal ties, he is going to spend a lot of time trying to put michigan in play. he's going to do that. that's why you heard very aggressively the dnc use romney 's comments about using t.a.r.p. funds to bail out the auto industry , that that was one point they grabbed and went after romney with pretty quickly. michigan . keep an eye on it as a purple state . yesterday at a news conference the president challenged congressional republicans to take up and pass provisions of his jobs bill.

    >> if senator mcconnell or speaker boehner say to me, you know what? we want to get some infrastructure built in this country, i'll be right there. we'll be ready to go. if they are willing to renew the payroll tax as we worked on together in december, i'll be ready to go.

    >> but the relationship is hardly sunny after the president and boehner spoke on the phone yesterday. the speaker's office decided to release a statement about the phone call . quote, after they discussed trade, the speaker brought up the president's remarks today about, quote, not having yet seen a republican plan for job creation . and respectfully challenged the president's assertion. quote, i want to make sure you have all the facts the speaker told the president. one way to look at this? the president has hit a nerve a little bit. the other thing we should note yesterday john mccain and rand paul decided to unveil their own version of a jobs plan, plenty of stuff in there that democrats would never agree to when it comes for instance to the balanced budget amendment but having something, a piece of legislation called a jobs plan seems to have put a little pressure on some republicans who do this. we had heard senate leadership wasn't going to be doing this. interesting to me that it's mccain and rand paul, two people that are usually comfortable bucking leadership. finally, after two and a half years, is the white house finally figuring out how to tap into the clinton brand? for the second friday in a row, hillary clinton is focusing on the economy. this time in a speech to the economic club of new york. last friday clinton hosted the president's jobs council at the state department .

    >> we have a significant but untapped potential for job creation and economic growth that comes with attracting foreign investment . we need to show not only that we are open for business but to use every tool in our tool box to attract it.

    >> so there you go. this is one, okay, two second fridays in a row. usually you wait for three to be a trend. this one feels like though it's already

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