Governor Rick Perry wrapped up his first bus tour of Iowa this past Sunday. He's trying to drum up support for the January 3 caucuses. The message of the week was: vote the outsider into Washington - and shake things up.
Governor Perry spent the weekend rattling off a laundry list of campaign promises during each of the stops on his bus tour - messages that are by now familiar to Texans following his fortunes: a flat tax proposal, energy independence, securing the U.S. and Mexico border.
But on this tour, the governor's message was somewhat malleable. By Sunday, he kicked off each appearance with attacks on current frontrunners, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, throwing in a call to dismantle Washington's power structure.
Rick Perry: Insiders are not going to bring real change. It's going to take a serious outsider who will walk into Washington D.C. and shake up that place. And I will suggest to you that I'm that outsider that will do it.
Perhaps the most enthusiastic crowd was in New Hampton, Iowa Sunday afternoon. Several people there said they would caucus for Perry, and that they felt like momentum was beginning to swing his way. Todd Becker was one of those supporters.
Todd Becker: I think he's come to that point where it's turning around again. I think so. I think you'll see that happen right after the caucus, see how well he does. And then he moves into the bigger theaters. Yeah I think so, it will all help him.
Though the last crowd on the day's itinerary was a little less positive. In Decorah Iowa, voters sat on their hands for most of Perry's speech - neither applauding nor laughing at lines that had worked for the candidate earlier in the day. When Perry took questions from the crowd, Rebecka Green asked him how he could support the oil and gas extraction technique known as hydraulic fracking, when an EPA study had shown it pollutes ground water.
Rick Perry: We can have this conversation, but you can not show me one place where there is a proven, not one, where there is a proven pollution of ground water by hydraulic fracking. Perry has presided over a fracking boom in Texas. During his tenure as governor, both the Eagle Ford shale and the Barnett shale have proven highly lucrative for both oil and gas companies and landowners. Though the EPA's report is specific to Pavillion Wyoming, it has raised new concerns that fracking, which has also been linked to shallow earthquakes, is not sufficiently understood. An editorial released late Sunday night by the Wall Street Journal said, among other limitations, the study needs to be peer reviewed.
Perry will campaign in Iowa through Thursday, then fly back to Texas for a Christmas break. Then he'll be back on the road on December 27th.