The Washington Times - December 15, 2011, 12:56PM

Rick Perry thew another punch in the increasingly feisty Republican presidential fight on Thursday, tagging the two GOP front-runners as “political insiders” and casting himself as the outsider in the race.

The 30-second “Problem/Solution” television ad will air both nationally and in Iowa, where the major contenders will square off tonight in Sioux City for the 13th debate of the nomination fight that many believe has boiled down to a two-man contest between former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.


“Reckless spending and high taxes are destroying our economy,” a narrator says in his campaign ad. “The problem? Political insiders. Newt Gingrich supported increasing the federal debt ceiling one trillion dollars and billions in new earmarks. Mitt Romney raised business taxes 20 percent in Massachusetts. Gingrich and Romney. Insiders.”

“Rick Perry’s plans to create jobs and overhaul Washington with a part-time Congress make him the outsider political insiders fear most,” the narrator says.

Mr. Perry, a three-term Texas governor, entered the race in August with high expectations and quickly jumped out to the lead in many national and state polls. But his fortunes have turned in recent months, thanks to poorly reviewed debate performances in which he has looked a bit tongue-tied and slow on his feet.

Now he is pouring a lot of time and money into Iowa, where he’s run campaign ads that play up his evangelical roots in an attempt to woo the social and religious conservatives that tend to make up a major chunk of caucus- goers.

“The two current front-runners for the Republican nomination support distinctly unconservative policies like government-mandated health insurance and federal bailouts,” Perry campaign manager Ray Sullivan said in releasing the ad.

Mr. Romney signed into law a universal health care system in Massachusetts, while Mr. Gingrich previously has supported a federal health care mandate similar to the one in President Obama’s national health care law. Both men supported the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

“As someone who has never served in Washington or been an establishment favorite, Gov. Perry is the one candidate with the record and reform plans to truly change Washington, D.C.,” Mr. Sullivan said, highlighting Mr. Perry’s plan to make Congress part time, cut congressional pay and balance the federal budget by 2020.