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Texas

Rick Perry Returns To New Hampshire Eyeing 2016 Bid

BEDFORD, N.H. — Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was talking about the weather Wednesday when he told New Hampshire voters he was “just warming up,” but he also said he was carefully preparing for a possible presidential campaign.

Speaking at a Bedford marketing firm, Perry joked about the 80-degree difference in temperature between New Hampshire and Texas this week. But his main message to a group of a dozen business leaders was that the federal government has failed them by not providing predictability and stability in taxes and regulation.

“Small business men and women are going to be the real engine that drives the country forward. Washington understanding and respecting that these laboratories of innovation need to be freed from one-size-fits-all policies and letting them compete, to me, that's the real key,” he said.

Such predictability is also lacking in everything from health care to foreign policy, Perry argued. On the same day President Barack Obama asked Congress to authorize military force against Islamic State fighters, Perry said U.S. troops are needed but the president’s previous lack of involvement has emboldened the militant group. He criticized Obama for not clearly making the case for action, and said such leadership is a pre-condition for any discussion of a congressional authorization.

“The president bringing the resolution is a start — but not an end — and Congress has been negligent in not advancing this issue before now,” he said, adding that any authorization must give flexibility to military commanders. “We must defeat ISIS. I’m concerned that the war authorization may limit the use of ground forces and contain geographical and time limits.”

Perry, who dropped out of the 2012 presidential race shortly after finishing sixth in New Hampshire’s Republican primary, has visited the state three times in the last six months. He said he won’t make a decision about a 2016 campaign until May or June but that he has learned lessons from last time: Get in early and spend a lot of time in key states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

After the business roundtable, Shawn Walsh, CEO of Paradigm Computer Consulting, said he was “pleasantly surprised” by Perry and would strongly consider backing him if he gets in the race. He echoed Perry’s comments about instability in health care, saying his company had seen premiums jump 68 percent. Perry said he while he didn’t think the president’s health care overhaul law is 100 percent bad, it should be repealed and replaced by “state-based options.”

Texas leads the nation in uninsured residents, with nearly a quarter of the population lacking health coverage. Perry and the GOP-controlled Legislature refused to expand Medicaid under the health law, however.

“That's what Texans decided they wanted. They did not want government forcing everyone to buy insurance,” he said. (AP)