FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Governor Rick Perry isn’t running for any political office, but he still knows how to bring Republicans to their feet.

Before thousands of Republicans at the Texas GOP Convention in Fort Worth, the Governor dished out political red meat. “The National Democrats think Texas is the new battleground. We’ll, let’s be really clear. Texas will be their political burial ground.”

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The party played a video tribute to the man who’s become the states longest serving Governor, a man who may again seek higher office.

Mr. Perry told the crowd, “We need to set the stage for 2016 and we will win the White House.” He reminded delegates of the robust Texas economy under his watch, and criticized the Obama administration’s extreme backlog of treating veterans at VA Hospitals across the country.

“Our military veterans lived up to their end of the bargain,” he said. “It is time for the federal government to do the same.”

Some supporters, like Suzanne Bettac, believe Perry’s already running for President. “Oh, I think so. He hit all the right notes – certainly for Texas.”

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On Thursday, Democrats pounced on Perry’s record.

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The Texas Democratic Party issued a statement saying, in part –

“For all of Perry’s rhetoric and grand-standing we saw today, he left Texans with a neglected state water plan, transportation infrastructure, and an unconstitutional school finance system.”

The gun rights group Open Carry Tarrant County planned to demonstrate Thursday evening outside the convention center. During the day, members walked inside carrying black powder guns, which are allowed. But they couldn’t bring their long guns, so they’re hoping to change the party’s platform.

One Open Carry leader, Kory Watkins, said, “We’re far behind here in Texas. We can’t even open carry and there’s 40 other states that can so we’re trying to get back to what our founders intended.”

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