PICKENS, S.C. (CBS) - Hoping to revive his floundering campaign, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is out Wednesday with a new ad to air in South Carolina that touts his military service and support from some prominent military leaders.
The 60-second spot, which will air on South Carolina broadcast and cable, features five accomplished service members – three are recipients of the Medal of Honor, one the Purple Heart, and one the Navy Cross – espousing their support for the Texas governor. South Carolina has the largest percentage of military voters of any of the early primary states.
“Any veteran that I knew needed help, Governor Perry always told me whatever he could do to care of them he would do it,” said Cpl.Dakota Meyer, to whom President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor last year.
“Governor Rick Perry – he is one of the most honorable men I’ve ever met,” added Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, who was awarded the Navy Cross.
Perry, who voluntarily served in the United States Air Force for five years in the 1970s, is advertising those credentials in a state with a significant military influence: South Carolina is home to the country’s largest initial entry training center, Fort Jackson, as well as several other military bases.
“The decorated military veterans in this TV ad speak strongly for Gov. Perry’s character, faith and leadership,” said Perry campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan in a statement accompanying the ad’s release. “These vets know Rick Perry’s pro-American, pro-job and pro-veteran record. Additionally, Gov. Perry is the one true Washington outsider left in this race and has an unparalleled record of job creation, having created more than one million net new jobs while in office.”
As South Carolina’s January 21 primary nears, the Republican presidential contenders are already flooding the Palmetto state airwaves with ads. Perry, who skipped Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary in lieu of South Carolina, is making what may be a final push to establish himself as the anti-Romney consensus conservative.
And while his credentials as a southern conservative hew more closely to voters in South Carolina than to the independent-leaning New Hampshire, he still has a significant popularity deficit to make up. A recent CNN/Time/ORC poll showed the Texan with just five percent support in the state.
“I’m the outsider who’s willing to step on some toes,” he says in the ad. “We can surely recapture what is great about America. And we can restore this nation to its preeminence in the world as a beacon of individual liberty and economic prosperity. And there is no greater cause in our time.”
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