December 22, 2014

Anita Perry: “We need to spend a lot more time in Iowa.”

Rick Perry’s wife says the presidential race is “still not settled” — and Anita Perry says her husband’s retooled campaign will dedicate more time for the candidate to meet face-to-face with people in early voting states like Iowa. 

“It’s hard to come in on top and stay on top,” Anita Perry said this afternoon during an interview with Radio Iowa. “We’d never been nationally vetted before. The people of Texas knew everything about us, but the nation didn’t, and we had some issues that we needed to get out in front of and clarify.”

A new crew of campaign advisors with national experience has gone to work for Perry. A veteran of Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign is among the new Perry people and Anita Perry said everyone “knows what their job is.” The  Texas governor entered the race in August, positioned as a conservative alternative to front-runner Mitt Romney.

“People were waiting for him to get into the race and we had so many calls and letters and encouragement from people encouraging him to do so and people everywhere I went that week said, ‘We were waiting for him,'” Mrs. Perry said. “There’s a message there that the race wasn’t settled and it’s still not settled.”

Governor Perry and his campaign team this week said Perry may skip some of the eight televised debates and forums planned for the presidential candidates between now and Caucus night. 

“The disadvantage is that you can’t get out and you can’t meet the people, the retail politicking that you need to do and the one-on-one, which I think it really important,” Anita Perry said. “I think that’s one of Rick’s strengths is he’s a great retail politician and he loves meeting people face to face.”

Her husband will appear at a televised forum in Pella on Tuesday and at a debate in Michigan on November 9, but beyond that Perry has made no promises to appear at the televised forums.

“I know he’s going to do more debates,” Mrs. Perry said. “…But we need to spend a lot more time in Iowa.”

Anita Perry is speaking tonight with voters in Adel and tomorrow, she’s scheduled to address a Republican gathering in Des Moines.