DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Gov. Rick Perry announced Wednesday that he is endorsing Mitt Romney as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate.
Perry and Romney spent many bitter months publicly battling one another on debate stages across the country before the Texas governor’s presidential campaign sputtered, causing him to exit the race in January.
He initially endorsed former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, whom he called a “conservative visionary” during his concession speech. Gingrich dropped out of the race hours before Perry announced his endorsement swap, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In a statement emailed to news outlets Wednesday night, Perry blasted President Barack Obama’s “four years of failed job-killing policies” and wrote that Romney is now best suited to take the presidential seat back from the Democrats.
“American jobs, economic stability and national security depend on electing a new president,” the statement reads. “Mitt’s vision and record of private sector success will put America back on the path of job creation, economic opportunity and limited government.”
Perry had Romney in his crosshairs nearly immediately after entering the presidential race in August of last year.
During debates leading up to the first primary, Perry lambasted Romney’s health care plan that required Massachusetts residents to buy health insurance.
During a Sept. 23 debate in Florida, Perry called it a model for “Obamacare,” the Associated Press reported. He then flubbed an attempt to lambast Romney for flip-flopping on gun control and abortion.
Five months and nearly a week later, Perry was out –– his campaign marred by missteps during public debates that peaked with him forgetting the third government agency he’d dismantle if elected president.
Then he uttered what many considered to be an audible nail-in-the-coffin: “Oops.”
In an interview with CBS 11’s Jack Fink earlier this month, Perry said his campaign failed not with “oops,” but when he said those who are critical of the state’s policy of giving tuition to children of illegal immigrants lack sympathy.
“Our immigration policy in Texas has always been about economics,” Perry told Fink. “I said something about not having a heart, and I think that had a substantially bigger effect on people.”
Coincidentally, Romney used Perry’s immigration policy as a punching bag during a Florida debate.
As for Perry’s plans? He told CBS 11 earlier this month that his “instincts are very positive” toward running again for governor in 2014.
And another presidential run in 2016? Pending good health and familial support, Perry said he is “certainly going to give it a good examination.”
Look below for the Perry camp’s full endorsement statement:
“Mitt Romney has earned the Republican Presidential nomination through hard-work, a strong organization, and disciplined message of restoring America after nearly four years of failed job-killing policies from President Obama and his administration,” said Governor Perry. “So today I join the many conservative Republicans across the nation in endorsing Mitt Romney for President and pledge to him, my constituents and the Republican Party than I will continue to work hard to help defeat President Obama. American jobs, economic stability and national security depend on electing a new president. Mitt ‘s vision and record of private sector success will put America back on the path of job creation, economic opportunity and limited government.”