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Perry to Head to South Carolina After Fifth-Place Iowa Finish

Texas Governor Rick Perry said he will head to South Carolina, which has a primary later this month, after finishing fifth in yesterday’s Iowa caucuses.

“And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State … Here we come South Carolina!!!” Perry, 61, wrote in a message posted on his official Twitter account that included a photo of him in running attire. Perry had told supporters yesterday he would return to Texas to reassess his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination “to determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race.”

Perry’s early surge in national polls after he entered the race in mid-August was hurt by poor debate performances. His final push in Iowa, a 44-city bus tour, failed to rally voters behind him. He had aimed to win over social conservatives and position himself as an alternative to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Romney defeated former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania by just eight votes in the caucuses, each with a little less than 25 percent of the vote. U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas ran third with about 21 percent. The top trio was followed by former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Perry and U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Bachmann ended her campaign today.

A call to Perry’s campaign office wasn’t immediately returned. Mark Miner, a campaign spokesman, didn’t immediately return an e-mail.

In the month following Perry’s candidacy announcement, he climbed to the top of the polls. He quickly drew criticism after making disparaging comments about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Social Security.

Bernanke Criticism

Perry on Aug. 15 said things could get “ugly” for Bernanke in Texas if he tried additional, “almost treasonous,” monetary stimulus before the next presidential election.

His campaign was dogged by debate appearances he acknowledged were mediocre and his standing in the polls dropped by as much as 20 percentage points in October.

Perry’s chances took a hit after a November debate in which he couldn’t remember the name of the third government agency he would eliminate if he became president.

He named two, the departments of Commerce and Education, and then said he couldn’t remember the third. “I can’t. Sorry. Oops,” he said.

Perry touted economic gains and job creation in Texas during his 10 years as governor and portrayed himself as a Washington outsider.

In an effort to distinguish himself from others in the contest, Perry proposed giving individuals the option of paying a 20 percent flat tax on their income as part of his economic plan. He also proposed lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent.

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