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How Rick Perry's Indictment Could Help His Image

Rick Perry has gained support due to his indictment on federal charges, which could - in turn - help him politically.
Posted at 11:58 PM, Aug 19, 2014

Texas Governor Rick Perry turned himself in to authorities in Travis County, Texas, Tuesday following his indictment last week on corruption charges. 

"I'm here today because I believe in the rule of law. ... We will prevail. We'll prevail because the rule of law will prevail." (Video via Austin American-Statesman)

But what are the chances Perry's indictment on federal charges will be a boon to his renewed political livelihood? 

Let's start with the case itself: Perry is accused of threatening a political rival — Rosemary Lehmberg — after her drunk driving arrest in 2013. The Texas governor de-funded Lehmberg's public integrity unit after she refused to resign.

But while Perry's actions have been seen by some as "bullying," Craig Robinson, the founder of conservative website Iowa Republican, says Perry's indictment, "Kind of ironically, it's helped him. ... I think people kind of see this as an overreach, and he's kind of the victim."

Besides the charges being "thin at best and spurious at worst," a Christian Science Monitor writer says Perry has done himself a favor by coming out in front of the charges. "Perry’s not running from the publicity around the indictment so much as trying to spin it to his advantage – framing it as an attack on what he calls his legitimate use of political power."

Perry's indictment has even helped garner support from other GOP leaders. Essentially, inter-party rivals who normally wouldn't have many nice things to say about Perry, have been singing his praises. That includes New Jersey's Chris Christie and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

But trying to use the indictment to his advantage could also backfire.

GERALD SEIB: "The problem is it does create a huge distraction and it does get in the way of the process of getting out of the governor's office and moving onto a wide, smooth path toward the Republican nomination." (Video via CBS)

That would be a distraction for a potential candidate that Politico says is still a "long shot for the White House": "The indictment is a blow to Perry just as he’s trying to rehabilitate his image after a disastrous 2012 presidential run."

Perry's arraignment is set for Friday, though he doesn't need to be there in person. Instead, he's expected to visit the first primary, New Hanmpshire. 

 This video contains images from Travis County Sheriff's Office and Getty Images.