Rick Perry hasn’t let a criminal indictment stop him from taking serious steps down the road that leads to November 2016. In addition to traveling to key primary states, he’s been beefing up his foreign policy credibility and increasing his presence in the media.

He recently appeared on an episode of “Fox and Friends” to talk about the connection between the recent beheading of an Oklahoma woman, and U.S. action in the Middle East:

Via Politico:

“At some point in time, the administration does have to address this as what is appears to many people that it is — and that is an act of violence that is associated with terrorism,” Perry said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”

“I think Americans are confused about what this is,” Perry said. “This is a clear case of an individual going in and doing something that does not meet their definition of ‘workplace violence,’ so I think any rational thinking American is going to look at this and go, ‘This is more than just normal workplace violence.’”

During the interview, Fox News’ Steve Doocy said that if the incident was not connected to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, after the group had released its own beheading videos, then “it’s the craziest connection ever.”

Perry said the act “seems to fall into that type of activity” but said to “give the appropriate time to really do the investigation to make sure that this is in fact the case.”

Additionally, Perry met yesterday with former Secretary of State and ultimate foreign policy heavy-hitter Henry Kissinger:

This is a good strategy for Perry, who is working his way up to “square one” with voters who weren’t impressed with his 2012 presidential run. At this point, Perry needs to pursue both a personal connection with all voters, and the credibility it will take to impress more sophisticated players.

Up until now, Perry’s presence in the foreign policy conversation has been mostly limited to discussions questioning how far a state is Constitutionally permitted to go to protect its own lands near the border. By taking steps to enter the conversation about what happened in Oklahoma, he can slowly build up his credibility to comment on Middle East policy; similarly, meeting with people like Kissinger will afford him the gravitas needed to expand his commentary to policy affecting other regions.

Foreign policy is usually a dark horse topic for presidential hopefuls; but with so much emphasis on ISIS, illegal immigration, and the risks that come with open borders, Perry is wise to get an early start on convincing the American people that he’s done his homework.

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