Texas Gov. Rick Perry, looking to breathe new life into his bid for the Republican nomination, opened an Iowa campaign swing by warning activists not to settle for a candidate who will just propose incremental change.
"The solution is not to nominate someone who is just going to nibble around the edges," said Perry. "Washington doesn't need a new coat of paint, it needs a complete overhaul."
Perry has lagged in recent polls, but he told about 300 activists that he is proposing a fundamental overhaul over all three branches of government. He told them none of the other Republicans seeking the nomination offer that kind of sweeping change.
He vowed to "uproot the three branches of government and overhaul government.
"They each have contributed to the demise of America," Perry said. Perry has scheduled an Iowa speech on Tuesday where he plans to lay out details of his overhaul. But he told the activists it will be sweeping and form the basis of the case he will make to activists who will show up for Jan. 3 precinct caucuses.
"The question for Iowans in 50 days is not whether to embrace change, but for Iowans to decide who is the most credible messenger for that change," said Perry.
He says one part of his plan will be to change the way the federal courts work, saying he's tired of judges he described as "arrogant."
The Texas Republican said other candidates offer lots of rhetoric on conservative issues, but he has a decade-long record of delivering on them as governor.
"Leadership isn't about style, it's about substance, about action," said Perry.
While other candidates tout their anti-abortion views "I signed a budget that defunded Planned Parenthood in Texas," said Perry.
Perry focused much of his fire on President Obama, saying voters have grown weary of the president, but he was not shy about making the case that he would make a better rival than any of his Republican opponents, largely because he aggressively confronts Obama and offers the most dramatic change.
"I'm in this race for the presidency not because of some lifelong ambition, but because the American people are yearning for someone who will tell them the truth," said Perry. "If you want real change, if you want to overhaul business as usual, caucus for me."
Perry dismissed Obama's campaign, saying many don't want to follow a leader who got the nation into its current difficulties.
"I, for one, do not believe the people who got us into this mess can get us out of it," said Perry.
Perry also poked fun at his campaign style, which he described as far from polished. He said that campaign style, however, is coupled with a fierce determination to stick with his principles.
"I'm not the most polished candidate, but I stick to my principles," said Perry.
Perry drifted briefly to foreign affairs, where he argued against Obama's involvement on foreign conflicts.
"I think any discussion of funding foreign aid should start with the number zero," said Perry. "There are millions of Americans on the mat, not because of a foreign power but because of flawed federal policies."