By Kathleen Gilbert
Amidst rumors that he will soon enter the race to become the GOP's 2012 presidential candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry came out swinging Sunday against President Obama's deeply pro-abortion policies, such as ending the Mexico City Policy and allowing taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.
Speaking to about 5,000 members of a pro-life rally in Los Angeles, Perry criticized the president's push for public funding of embryo-destructive research as "turning the remains of unborn children into nothing more than raw material," according to the Associated Press. "Every life is precious," he said.
"Our federal tax dollars can now be used to fund abortion all over the world. With the stroke of a pen, abortion essentially became a U.S. foreign export," said Perry, referring to Obama's dismantling of the Mexico City Policy, which reopened foreign aid funds for international abortion groups within days of his assuming office in 2009.
The strongly conservative Perry hinted last month that, despite previously denying a possible run for the 2012 GOP presidential ticket, he may change his mind.
He has followed up with what appears to be a national tour of sorts, hopping from California this weekend to New York on Monday, followed by a planned trip to New Orleans on Saturday, the Texas Tribune reports. Perry is also testing an online advertisement in New Hampshire.
The leader of the fiercely independent Southern state has also pushed back against President Obama's abortion-expanding health care law that passed in March 2010. Perry, whose attorney general joined several other states in a lawsuit against the legislation, has objected to the state health insurance exchange the health law mandates must be set up by 2013.
Although Perry was absent from last night's Republican candidate debate, the emergence of the 61-year-old governor could have a significant impact on the campaign scene that so far lacks a strong front runner.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney came out on top of last night's debate, garnering nearly 20,000 new fans on Facebook after the show, according to Facebook watcher Likester (runner-up Michele Bachmann gained a little over 9,200). However, Romney's involvement in spearheading a state-level health care law similar to Obama's, as well as his shaky record on abortion, are widely acknowledged as leaving Romney vulnerable to defeat by a candidate with stronger conservative credentials.
Philip Klein, the Washington Examiner's Senior Editorial Writer, wrote Monday night that the debate's winners were "Romney, Bachmann, and Rick Perry."
"By mentioning Perry, I use him as a stand-in for any other Republican candidate who may be contemplating a late entry in the race," wrote Klein. "Romney may have established himself as the frontrunner tonight, but he remains incredibly vulnerable. So there's still a huge opening for another candidate."