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August 15, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After months of mounting speculation, Texas Governor Rick Perry has put an end to all doubt, formally throwing in his hat as a 2012 presidential candidate for the GOP.

“It is time to get America working again, and that’s why, because with the support of my family, and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today as a candidate for president of the United States,” Perry told a crowd Saturday at a conference hosted by the RedState conservative blog.

“I came to South Carolina because I will not sit back and accept the path that America is on,” he said, telling supporters, “I full well believe I’m going to win.”

The entrance of Perry is expected to significantly shake up the GOP leadership race. Recent polls found that Perry’s emergence into the race would put him in direct contention with Mitt Romney for the leading position. A USA Today/Gallup poll August 8 found Romney leading by 24 percent to Perry’s 17 percent, and a McClatchy/Marist poll August 9 showed Romney leading 21 percent to Perry’s 18 percent. 

The Texas governor’s announcement came the same day as a straw poll in Ames, Iowa, in which U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul came out nearly tied for first place. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a distant third, dropped out of the race following news of the results. Neither Romney nor Perry competed in the Ames poll.

In his speech, Perry criticized President Barack Obama for policies which led to the “first ever downgrade in the credit rating of the United States.”

“The fact is for nearly three years, President Obama has been downgrading American jobs, downgrading our standing in the world, downgrading our financial stability, downgrading confidence, and downgrading the hope of a better future for our children,” Perry said.

While his announcement speech focused primarily on the economy, Perry has long been outspoken with his pro-life and pro-family views, and is supported by many pro-life and pro-family leaders, particularly in his own state.

To find out more about Perry’s record on the life and family issues read Part I and Part II of our special report: Who is Rick Perry?

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