Rick Perry: 2016???s borderline candidate?

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RICHMOND, Va. ??? Plying a third path to what could be another presidential run, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is blasting Democrats and Republicans alike over Washington???s dithering on border security.

???It???s a bipartisan failure. Congress has done nothing while people die,??? Perry told a GOP gathering in Richmond on Tuesday night.

The once and possibly future presidential hopeful was applauded repeatedly for his call to ???secure the border.??? The tough talk distanced him from the moderate pronouncements of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, prospective rivals in 2016.

Perry, who deployed the Texas National Guard during last summer???s surge of children across the Rio Grande, did not prescribe a fix for America???s illegal-immigration problem. But he maintains President Obama is not up to the challenge.

???He turned me down,??? Perry said of the president???s response to his invitation to join him at the Mexican border. ???He made it abundantly clear he was not going to take action.???

Spoken like a native son of the Republic of Texas that he is, Perry declared to cheers at Virginia Republicans??? annual Commonwealth Dinner: ???If Washington isn???t going to secure the border, Texas will.???

Steve Farnsworth, political science professor at the University of Mary Washington, and Geoffrey Skelley, analyst at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, agreed that illegal immigration is a hot button for conservatives and could play well for Perry.

???No one knows the issue better than Perry,??? Farnsworth said.

But Skelley noted one of the reasons Perry ???flamed out??? in the 2012 GOP primaries was his decision to grant in-state tuition to illegals in Texas.

???He really wants to run for president again; I???m just not sure he???ll have any success. There are a lot of younger and more interesting candidates this time around. The space doesn???t seem to be there for him.???

Kenric Ward is a national reporter for and chief of the Virginia Bureau. Contact him at or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward


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