RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry touted his record to Virginia Republicans on Tuesday as someone who favors low taxes and a more aggressive foreign policy.
The potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate was the headliner of a Republican Party of Virginia fundraiser in Richmond, where he railed against what he said was an out-of-touch federal bureaucracy and a weak-kneed president.
Perry, who offered no news about his 2016 plans, cast himself as someone who could unify the country after a "decade of discontent" and said his policies in Texas have helped create jobs and tighten border security.
"It's time to abandon this cynical formula of politics and replace it with the politics of unity and aspiration," Perry said.
He said the U.S. needs a more simplified tax structure, a more robust domestic energy policy, and fewer government regulations.
Perry spent much of his speech criticizing several of President Barack Obama's policies, including Obama's response to Islamic State militants and his veto of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
"Americans are starving for leadership," Perry said. "Americans want to believe again, we want to hope again. I don't believe we're consigned to a fate of lesser dreams, of fewer opportunities. I believe the best is yet to come."
Perry is one of several potential GOP presidential candidates who are making a point to visit Virginia, a critical swing state that could play a key role in deciding the Republican nomination.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush headlined a Richmond fundraiser last week and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is set to attend a meet-and-greet with GOP donors hosted by former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Richmond on Thursday.