CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Whatever you call it -- a "shake-up," a "game change," a "political earthquake," or "a new face on the scene" -- it's happening. Gov. Rick Perry is officially in the presidential race.
Speaking to a crowded hotel ballroom of conservative bloggers and more than 100 members of the media in South Carolina, the Texas governor unveiled a new tagline of his presidential contest: "It is time to get America working again."
'That's why, with the support of my family and unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today as a candidate for president of the United States," he said.
Perry's remarks focused squarely on America's economic situation, and he held the Obama administration flatly responsible for sluggish job growth and the recent downgrade of the country's credit rating by Standard and Poor's.
"One in six work-eligible Americans cannot find a full-time job," Perry said. "That is not a recovery -- that is an economic disaster."
Highlighting his background as the son of tenant farmers who grew up in a tiny Texas town wearing clothes hand-sewn by his mother, Perry -- with a characteristic Texas twang -- said that Washington lawmakers are detached from the everyday lives of American citizens.
"I promise you this," he said to rousing cheers. "I'll work every day to try to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can."
The Texas governor's entry is all but certain to jolt the base voters of other candidates in the GOP field and ensure dramatic competition in early contest states Iowa and South Carolina. His pitch to the evangelical Christian community, on full display last weekend at his 30,000-strong day of prayer and fasting in Houston, could pull support from Iowa front-runner Rep. Michele Bachmann. And his record of job creation in Texas, which will serve as a key selling point for his national campaign, will be measured against the tenure of other former statewide officials in the race like perceived front-runner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Texas Governor Rick Perry announces his presidential candidacy while speaking to a crowd of supporters in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday.