SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Sunday that he's not giving up on the race for the Republican presidential nomination, comparing himself to the fighters who rode back into the Alamo knowing there would be no reinforcements coming.
Perry returned to South Carolina for his first campaign stop in the state after a disappointing finish in last Tuesday's Iowa caucuses. At his first rally he addressed a crowd of about 300 at a packed Spartanburg burger joint.
"We're not quitting on America. We're not quitting on this race," Perry said.
He said war heroes have been campaigning for him ahead of the Jan. 21 primary. "And we're doing it as much for those young men and women who have given substantial amounts of their lives," Perry said. "And in some cases they gave it all. That is what is going to push us through."
He told of two South Carolinians who fought at the Alamo during Texas' fight for independence from Mexico. "That's what this election is about," he said. "Men and women who love America enough that they will sacrifice whatever it takes to put America on track."
Perry took shots directly at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who's leading the GOP race. "Mitt said, 'If you want to know how I'm going to perform, look at my record.' And I have, Mitt."
A woman in the audience said, "I don't like it."
"I'm with you, ma'am," Perry said to chuckles.
The question is whether South Carolina is with him.
Perry's schedule in the state is packed. Katon Dawson, Perry's campaign manager, said the campaign will get back on track here. "It's not desperate," Dawson said. "We're the underdog, but we're going to work real hard and I think we've got a chance."