Rick Perry attacks Washington, touts GOP governors in new ad

That contrast is likely to be a central part of Perry's message if he runs for president in 2016. It's also a theme that's been echoed by other GOP governors looking at a presidential run, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

"It isn't hard to see what's right in front of you. Washington needs to change, but the president keeps playing politics," Perry says in the ad. "When I look around this country, there's another story. Conservative governors are reforming taxes and regulations, helping small businesses grow, cutting and balancing budgets. Conservative leadership is putting people back to work, and families are building their futures. We need more of that, and less of Washington. Find out how — join Americans for Economic Freedom."

Many top Republican strategists have said their party's best hope is to emphasize the work of its governors rather than those in Congress, who poll show many Americans blame for the current government shutdown.

The ad is from Americans for Economic Freedom, a group that includes Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) on its board.