It's been nearly eight months since Texas Gov. Rick Perry first began speaking publicly about running for president. As he ends his presidential campaign this morning and endorses Newt Gingrich, here is a look back to the key moments of his presidential campaign with links to our coverage.
May 27, 2011: At a news conference near the end of the legislative session, Perry confirms he is thinking about running for president.
June 9, 2011: Several of Newt Gingrich’s senior campaign aides abruptly resign en masse, including Dave Carney and Rob Johnson, two former Perry advisers. The pair will eventually help Perry launch his presidential bid.
June 18, 2011: Perry steals the show at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, delivering an energetic speech that increases interest in him joining the presidential race.
Aug. 6, 2011: Perry is a featured speaker at The Response, a daylong prayer and fast at Houston’s Reliant Stadium that draws thousands in attendance and national attention due to Perry’s involvement. Organizers insisted the event was non-political though similar events have since been held in Iowa prior to that state's caucus and in South Carolina in advance of that state's primary.
Aug. 13, 2011: Perry makes if official, launching his campaign for president in South Carolina. "It is time to get America working again," Perry says. "That’s why, with the support of my family, and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today my candidacy for President of the United States." Perry quickly jumps to the top of national polls.
Sept. 12, 2011: In his second debate, candidates successfully pounce on Perry's 2007 executive order requiring all girls entering sixth grade to receive a vaccination against certain types of HPV, a sexually transmitted virus and question his record of job creation in Texas. The event will later be seen as the start of Perry’s long decline in support.
Sept. 22, 2011: Perry’s third debate is widely viewed as a major misstep as Perry struggles to defend his record on illegal immigration and clumsily attacks Romney’s record on healthcare. The following weekend, Alec Baldwin will portray Perry as a fumbling flip-flopper on Saturday Night Live. In the coming days, polls will show Perry’s support dropping markedly.
Oct. 2, 2011: The Washington Post reports that Perry’s family had for years leased a West Texas hunting camp that was long known by a racially offensive name. The camp's original name was visible on a rock at the camp in the 1980s and 1990s and possibly far more recently, according to the Post, though Perry has insisted it was painted over in "1983 or 1984." Some African-American leaders and lawmakers criticize Perry but the story never gains traction.
Oct. 18, 2011: At a Las Vegas debate, Perry gets into a heated exchange with Mitt Romney over whether Romney knowingly employed illegal immigrants to work on his home. His feisty performance prompts pundits to predict that Perry will soon regain his standing in the polls and that the race will come down to Perry and Romney.
Oct. 27, 2011: An animated speech in New Hampshire goes viral within days due to segments in which Perry appears to be rambling and stifling giggles. Clips from the speech quickly become fodder of late-night comics and some begin to question whether Perry was drunk or feeling the side effects of prescription medication at the time. An edited version of the speech posted on YouTube has since been watched more than 1.3 million times.
Nov. 9, 2011: Oops! During a CNBC debate, Perry can only recall two of the three federal agencies he wants to eliminate. Though he tries to move on from the gaffe, a CNBC moderator presses the issue, asking if Perry can remember the third agency. Perry eventually acknowledges he can't remember it. "The third one I can't," Perry says. "Oops."
Dec. 7, 2011: Perry releases "Strong," an ad in which he says, "There's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." The advertisement draws a barrage of negative reaction online and from various gay rights groups. The ad has been viewed more than 7 million times on YouTube. Perry's campaign later said the ad helped Perry connect with conservative voters.
Jan. 3, 2012: After finishing fifth in the Iowa caucus, Perry announces he is heading back to Texas to "reassess" his campaign. "With a little prayer and reflection, I'm going to decide the best path forward," he tells a room full of supporters.
Jan. 4, 2012: After thinking about it over an early morning run, Perry announces via Twitter that he is still in the race and focused on South Carolina, surprising supporters and seemingly some of his staff.
Jan. 10, 2012: Perry finishes sixth in New Hampshire. Though his campaign had long said they didn’t consider winning the state a priority, the 1 percent showing is still viewed as an embarrassment by pundits.
Jan. 19, 2012: Perry ends his presidential campaign two days before the South Carolina primary.