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“What I learned in my 20’s traveling the globe as an Air Force pilot, our current president has yet to acknowledge in his 50’s – that we are the most exceptional nation on the face of the earth,” Mr. Perry said, subtly inserting a rejoinder to critics who say he has no foreign policy experience.

He said that “America’s place in the world is in peril, not only because of disastrous economic policies, but from the incoherent muddle known as our foreign policy. Our president has thumbed his nose at traditional allies such as Israel and Great Britain.”

Mr. Perry, who as then-lieutenant governor succeeded George W. Bush as governor when Mr. Bush became president, has staked out a God and freedom theme initially, saying, “As Americans, we believe freedom is a gift from God, and government’s prime function is to defend it.”

“We don’t see the role of government as a nanny state, and we recognize there is no government money that wasn’t once earned through the sweat and toil of private citizens,” Mr. Perry said.

James Dobson, a respected leader on the social-issues right, used his radio program to praise Mr. Perry mainly for the management of Texas’ economy.

Rick Perry has devoted his adult life to creating a more prosperous Texas,” Mr. Dobson said in what could be interpreted as an endorsement. “The Lone Star State’s 47th governor, he has defended Texans’ conservative values, fought for principled solutions to tough challenges and worked to implement a clear vision for better schools, more jobs, safer communities and a brighter future.”

Mr. Dobson’s encomium could have been written by the new Perry campaign’s speech-writing department.

“Thanks to his adherence to tough fiscal discipline, Gov. Perry has helped shape a job-creation environment unlike any other state’s,” the founder of Focus on the Family said. ” With low taxes and government spending, predictable regulations, a fair legal system and increasingly accountable schools, Texas has led the nation in job creation with more jobs gained than any other state in 2010 and over the past 10 years.”