Romney, McCain were not conservatives, says Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, offered an easy explanation for Republican presidential candidates losing in 2008 and 2012 at the Conservative Political Action Conference today.

Mitt Romney and John McCain, according to Perry, were simply not conservatives.

"The popular media narrative is that this country has shifted away from conservative ideals, as evidenced by the last two presidential elections," he explained. "That's what they think. That's what they say."

"That might be true," he said, "if Republicans had actually nominated conservatives in 2008 and 2012."

Perry was himself a candidate for the GOP nomination in 2012. He hoped to stake out a role as the clear conservative in the race, but his bid floundered after a series of lackluster debate performances.