Rick Perry's lesson from 2012 U.S. presidential bid: be prepared

Reuters News
|
Posted: Jun 21, 2015 10:51 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rick Perry, the former Texas governor who is making a second run for the Republican presidential nomination next year, says he took away a major lesson from his failed 2012 bid: be prepared.

The Boy Scouts motto is something Perry knows well as an Eagle Scout, the highest attainable rank in the movement.

But the conservative Perry, who announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican nomination on June 4, said he was caught by surprise at the depth and breadth of knowledge presidential candidates were expected to have at their fingertips.

"Until you've done it you don't even realize what a challenge it is - these broad array of issues that you just have to have more than just passing knowledge of," Perry said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."

The longest-serving governor in Texas history, Perry's 2012 candidacy fell apart in an embarrassing Republican debate performance when he could not remember the third of three government agencies he wanted to scrap, blurting out "Oops."

This time, the 65-year-old has presented himself as a more thoughtful, policy-oriented candidate, punctuated by thick-framed, wonky-looking glasses.

A presidential candidacy involves years of sustained preparation and learning from "real experts," Perry said.

"I feel very comfortable now sitting on the stage that I can have those conversations and regurgitate that information that I know and that I've absorbed in a way that the American people are going to see a very different candidate that they did four years ago," he promised.

Perry was asked about a gaffe last week in which he referred to the Wednesday night shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, as an "accident."

Perry, whose poll ratings hover in the single digits, has said he misspoke.

"People are going to make mistakes and people know that," he said on the Fox program.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky; Editing by)