Rick Perry is America's longest-serving governor. He took over for George W. Bush in 2000, but a lot of voters don't know that much about Perry, who announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination over the weekend.
Wayne Slater, senior political correspondent for the Dallas Morning News and co-author of the book "Bush's Brain," appeared on "The Early Show" from Austin, Texas, to discuss the presidential hopeful's background, platform and personality.
"Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill noted Perry has talked about President Obama deciding, in his view, not to serve in the military. Also, Perry has recently said that if Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke prints more money in an attempt to pump up the economy before the 2012 presidential election, Perry would consider it "almost treasonous."
Hill said, "(He's) coming out swinging. Is this just who Rick Perry is?"
Slater said, "It's exactly who Rick Perry is. ... He started the campaign at full gallop. He's going after Obama. He's trying to distinguish himself already as the candidate who will be the alternative, expressing the Tea Party and social conservative values against Obama in the fall. That's who he is.
"A lot of people think he's George (W.) Bush. And in a sense, they sound alike, in some ways they look alike. (But) they're very different people. Perry is more partisan. He's more ideological and -- here's a big difference between George Bush and Rick Perry: George Bush always was resentful, a little bit, that his father never got to do what he thought. He was always overshadowed by Ronald Reagan. Rick Perry would like to be the second coming of Ronald Reagan, all bold colors and optimism."
Hill noted Perry's "bold colors and optimism" play very well in Texas, but maybe not so well in other areas of the country. How, Hill asked, will Perry need to temper his message to attract people in other areas of the U.S.?
Perry may not do that at all, according to Slater.
"I see very little evidence that he's going to temper his message, at least in the next few months," Slater said. "The game right now is to show himself to be the best candidate to Republican primary voters, especially on the right of the party -- the 'teavangelicals' -- the combination Tea Party, and evangelical voters - and others who are going to be so important. So, I think he's going to really push the envelope with respect to expressing the things that are important to them, a sharp attack on Washington, and a real appeal to evangelical and Tea Party voters. Now, that leaves him with a problem if he becomes the nominee. How do you pivot next summer and become more appealing to moderate voters? That's something that seems like they're worried about later."
Hill added, "He doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would like to be told what to do or what to say."
As for the president, CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Norah O'Donnell said Mr. Obama has put "very little" focus on Perry.
She said, "We haven't heard President Obama mention Gov. Perry by name, or even sort of allude to him. However, the Democratic National Committee has already challenged Gov. Perry's job creation record in Texas. Even though, about half of the jobs in America created in the last few years were created in Texas. The Democrats are saying, 'Yeah, but that wasn't because of anything Perry did.' That was just because of oil growth, and other things going on in Texas."
O'Donnell continued, "They also know that there's a terrible health care system (in Texas), that there's a large number of kids living in poverty in Texas. So they are beginning to tick away at Gov. Perry. But I think more interestingly now is that for Republicans, and Republican voters who are angry, they want someone who's going to directly challenge President Obama, that Perry's swagger, his Texas style campaigning, is exactly what Republicans are wanting. I think that's why he's created so much buzz, even just that he's been in the campaign for just days now."