Rick Perry CPAC Speech Strikes Populist Tone

WASHINGTON -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), in his second public appearance following his exit from the presidential race, struck a somewhat surprising populist tone Thursday, railing against the housing bubble burst and subsequent financial meltdown.

"Success on Wall Street shouldn't come at the expense of Main Street," said Perry.

"No one was watching the ratings agencies, the triple 'A' ratings to complex securities, and the market crashed," he said. "Folks on Wall Street who saw it coming, they made millions; folks who didn't see it coming, they got bailed out."

Perry also mentioned a Bloomberg News report that revealed that the Federal Reserve had committed $7.77 trillion to rescuing the financial system, saying the TARP bailout had been "kind of paltry" compared to the Fed loans.

"It's wrong, it's unfair and it's weakening America," said Perry. "We need to clean up the corruption from K Street to Wall Street so they can't gamble with our children's future again."

Perry also sounded more predictable conservative notes, discussing limiting the size of government and claiming that the Obama administration was attacking religious freedom.

He briefly discussed his failed presidential campaign at the start of his speech, referring to his alma mater, Texas A&M. "Aggies never lose, we just run out of time -- you could say my presidential campaign just ran out of time." Earlier, talking with reporters, he said, "I haven’t left the fight. I went home, I reloaded my mag, and I am fighting on different front."

Left out of the speech was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whom Perry endorsed after dropping out.

"I'm fearful of what the score's gonna be if we let the president start the second half as a quarterback," he said.