MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said Friday he would like English to be made the national language of the United States, agreeing with a frustrated voter who railed over the presence of multiple languages in everyday American life.
Perry, whose campaign needs a boost before Tuesday's lead-off Iowa caucuses, spoke at a Cerro Gordo County GOP fundraiser and took questions from the audience at the Mason County Country Club.
The voter who told the Texas governor he was tired of multilingual directions for products drew applause when he said he'd like to see English become the official language of the U.S. government.
"I don't know how the rest of the conservatives in the room feel, but personally, I'm fed up with seeing the directions on every single product on every single shelf of every single store written in four languages," said the man, who didn't give his name.
Perry replied, "That is a statement, that's not a question, and I can agree with it."
Perry, whose state is home to millions of Spanish speakers, is struggling to regain momentum in Iowa. He joined the presidential race in August to great fanfare and then crashed after campaign missteps and lackluster debates.
Trying to connect with conservatives, Perry has seemed willing to embrace more conservative positions as time runs short.
Earlier this week, Perry strengthened his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest. He previously had said he would allow abortion in those instances, as well as when the woman's life was in jeopardy.
A pastor asked Perry about the cases when he'd allow abortion and Perry surprised the audience when he said he had undergone a "transformation" on the subject. He seemed to say he opposed abortion in all cases.
A day later, the governor told reporters that he would still allow abortion when a woman's life was at stake. He did not elaborate.