COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa - Texas Gov. Rick Perry kicked off the second leg of his Iowa bus tour on Tuesday seeking to convince audiences they didn't have to settle for anyone but a true conservative - and that true conservative is him.
"I want you to answer this question: Why should you settle for anything less than an authentic conservative who will fight for your views and values without an apology? Think about that," Perry asked the packed crowd of over 100 in the Main Street Cafe here. "Why should you have to settle for anything less than the real deal to go to Washington D.C. and to represent you, work for you in Washington?"
He alluded to his competitors in the race, suggesting that they were Washington insiders who supported the financial rescue and health care law that many Republican voters despise.
"I got all the respect in the world for the front-runners in this race, but ask yourself: if we replace a Democratic insider with a Republican insider, you think we're really going to change Washington D.C.? You don't have to settle for Washington and Wall Street insiders who supported the Wall Street bailout and the Obamacare individual mandate," he said.
In a swipe at fellow Texan Ron Paul, who is increasingly looking like the candidate most likely to win the Iowa caucuses next Tuesday, Perry told the crowd they didn't have to settle for someone who would "allow Iran to wipe Israel off the face of the earth and then ultimately America. You don't have to stand for that."
Perry appeared alongside Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the controversial Arizona lawman who found himself the subject of charges by the Justice Department earlier this month that he violated civil liberties. Arpaio, who briefly introduced Perry at the start of the event, called it a "sneak attack" by the Obama administration but suggested a president like Perry would allow him to continue his work unfettered.
In a Fox News interview after the charges were revealed last month, Perry defended his supporter, saying people that people were "out after Sheriff Joe."
Arpaio campaigned with Perry in New Hampshire just after Thanksgiving. But his presence seemed much more effective in Iowa, as did Perry's pledges to shut down the border within a year of taking office. That promise received applause and cheers from the enthusiastic audience.