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Perry Campaigning For Cruz: No One Is More Prepared To Be Commander In Chief


In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, a familiar face is back on the campaign trail this week in Iowa, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He dropped out of the Republican presidential race last September. He's back on the stump, campaigning for fellow Texan Ted Cruz. NPR's Sarah McCammon caught up with both of them yesterday in Iowa.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: These days, Rick Perry has to settle for being a warm-up act. He introduced Ted Cruz at several campaign stops in Iowa, including a restaurant in Centerville.


RICK PERRY: And I have come to know without a doubt that there is not an individual who is in this race today that's anymore prepared to be the commander in chief on day one as Ted Cruz.

MCCAMMON: The good feelings seemed to go both ways, with Cruz talking up Perry's record as the longest serving governor of Texas.


TED CRUZ: It is a powerful thing to be friends with Rick Perry and to have him standing here as conservatives across the state of Iowa are uniting and coming together.


MCCAMMON: At a town hall last night in Ottumwa, Perry told the crowd that Cruz reached out several times seeking his support. In the past, they've occasionally found themselves on opposite sides of political battles. But now, Perry says, after they spent a day together at his home in Texas, he found Cruz to be a good listener.


PERRY: I can't tell you what a gift that is for a man to listen as you chuckled.


PERRY: You know some men that don't listen.

MCCAMMON: In an interview aboard Cruz's campaign bus, Perry said after he ended his own presidential bid in September, he wasn't sure whether he'd endorse someone else.

PERRY: Obviously, we're campaigning for Sen. Cruz rather than for ourselves, but I'm still campaigning for the same values.

MCCAMMON: And Perry's aware that voters are looking for a candidate more like Ted Cruz than himself this year. Several current and former governors with long records of experience have either dropped out of the Republican race or haven't gained much traction.

PERRY: The American people have taken a look at this, and, you know, experience is not what they're most interested in right now. What they're most interested in is someone who truly is a committed conservative and committed to devolving power out of Washington, D.C. And Ted Cruz is - I mean, he stands alone.

MCCAMMON: Perry says he questions whether Donald Trump is a true conservative. He will round out his swing through Iowa with Cruz at an anti-abortion rally in West Des Moines tonight. Sarah McCammon, NPR News, Ottumwa, Iowa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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