on the issues

Foreign Policy: A former Air Force pilot, Perry advocates muscular intervention on foreign policy. He believes that U.S. ground troops may have to be deployed to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, an extremist group that he said "represents the worst threat to freedom since Communism." He blames what he calls President Obama's "incompetence" in handling Iraq and Syria for the rise of the ISIL. Perry has pledged that, if elected, he would kill any deal the U.S. reaches with Iran over its nuclear program. And he has called for the United States to take a more active role diplomatically to remove Hamas' missiles from Gaza, calling Israel, which he has visited repeatedly, a "tremendous ally." Perry has also called for providing lethal aid to the Ukrainian military to fight Russian-backed separatists.

Same-Sex Marriage: Perry opposes same-sex marriage, but said recently that he "probably would" attend a same-sex marriage of a family member.

Environment: Perry is skeptical that human behavior causes climate change, and believes that trying to curb planet-warming emissions will harm the economy. Nevertheless, he has said recently that under his leadership in Texas, levels of climate-warming carbon emissions decreased 9 percent because of regulatory incentives.

Immigration: Perry says much more needs to be done to secure the nation's borders to prevent illegal immigration, and last year he activated 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help in that effort. But during a 2012 presidential debate he earned the scorn of some Republicans by defending in-state tuition for immigrants who are in the country illegally, saying of those who disagreed, "I don't think you have a heart."

Economy and budget: During Perry's last five years as governor, Texas led the nation in job growth. He attributed that success to his focus on keeping taxes low and slashing spending, including cutting $5.4 billion from public education in 2011. He also sought to aid the economy by curbing regulations. Texas leads the nation in the number of uninsured adults and children, but Perry has rejected federal money available under the Affordable Care Act.

New York Times