MANCHESTER and CHICHESTER, N.H. -- Rick Perry turned up the heat on Barack Obama in a pair of campaign stops in sweltering New Hampshire yesterday, but claimed he is keeping his cool.
“Somebody said it’s kinda hot here and I went, ‘Nope,'" joked the Texas governor as hundreds of voters beared the afternoon sun in Manchester.
Perry, who concluded his third swing through the Granite State today, sustained his attacks on President Obama. The GOP candidate faulted Obama's healthcare plan for the dismal employment landscape.
"If the president wants to make a good jobs speech, he needs to stand up in front of the American people and say we're going to repeal Obamacare," Perry said to more than 300 voters in Chichester. "Mr. President, you cannot spend your way to prosperity. It doesn't work; it's never worked."
As for the rest of the GOP field, Perry played nice but also took the opportunity to issue a thinly veiled dig at his main competition for the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney, and his Massachusetts health-care record. Perry recently surpassed Romney in several polls.
“Let me just go on the record. They’re all good men and women," Perry said, gripping the podium. "But as we consider this economic misery that has spread across this country by the Obama administration, we don’t need a nominee who is going to blur the differences between himself and Barack Obama. We’re going to have a nominee who draws a clear contrast. The differences between President Obama and I are great.”
At both stops, Perry was quizzed on illegal immigration by Republican voters. He advocated federal involvement of National Guard troops on the Texas-Mexico border but no physical barrier.
"No, I don't support a fence on border. I think strategic fencing is part of the strategy but it's 1,200 miles from Brownsville to El Paso," said Perry in Manchester. "And how long would it take to build that if needed to build 30 foot wall? The 35-foot ladder business would get really good," he quipped.
Perry has now been in the race for a short three weeks and his popularity has surged quickly as Granite Staters begin to take a
closer look at exactly what the man with the Texas twang is all about. More than 300 Republican voters turned out at both speeches, according to campaign staff.
Perry, who was well-guarded by security and staff as he moved through the crowds, took no questions from journalists but did pause to answer a question from a 9-year-old New Hampshire resident.
"If you could be one superhero, who would it be?" he asked the 3-term Texas governor.
"I don't know of the real current heroes, but there was one back in my day, Superman," Perry replied. "Superman came to save the United States!"
As you may remember, GOP candidate Herman Cain gave the same young man a similar answer in Manchester two weeks ago, "Superman! Because we have a super mess in Washington!"