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FACTBOX-Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Tue, 10 Jan 2012 06:59 GMT
Author: Reuters
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Jan 10 (Reuters) - Texas Governor Rick Perry will take part in the New Hampshire primary election on Tuesday, as he competes for the Republican Party's nomination to oppose President Barack Obama in the November U.S. presidential election.

Here are some facts about him.

* The 61-year-old is the longest-serving governor in Texas history. He is considered a solid Tea Party candidate because of his staunch opposition to abortion and gay marriage, and support for limited government. He bills himself as a Washington outsider.

* Perry shot to the top of polls in August when he entered the race, but fell back after a string of poor debate performances. In a November debate, he forgot the name of one of three government agencies he has pledged to eliminate if elected president. He also called the Social Security retirement program a fraudulent Ponzi scheme. He came in fifth place in last week's Iowa polls.

* Perry has come under fire from Republican rivals for moderate immigration positions and ordering that young girls in Texas be inoculated for a sexually transmitted virus.

* In an incident that has become famous, Perry said he shot dead a coyote that he felt had threatened his daughter's dog as he jogged on a trail near Austin in 2010. He said he needed just one shot from the laser-sighted pistol he sometimes carries to protect himself from snakes when he runs.

* At a December Republican debate, Perry compared himself to National Football League quarterback Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos, who has won several games this season with late comebacks after lackluster starts.

* In 2009, Perry pondered his state's secession from the United States. At a Tea Party event in Austin supporters shouted "secede" and Perry said Texas might want to "if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people."

* Perry was a Democrat when he entered politics in the mid-1980s as a member of the Texas House of Representatives and was the Texas chairman of Al Gore's 1988 presidential campaign. He switched parties in 1989 and later became agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor and then governor in 2000 after George W. Bush was elected U.S. president.

(Editing by Alistair Bell)

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