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August 11, 2011

Perry Interview: Yeah I'm Running

Interesting interview.

There's not really what you'd call a campaign theme here, but you can see bits and pieces that will shape that. It's not very specific, but it does show his emphasis, which will be economic.

He drops bits of his biography into his answers, about Texas and his wife. Part of his burden, of course, is convincing the country that it's okay to vote for a Texas governor again.

Halperin: Tell me what being a Texan means to you.

Perry: (Laughs.) Man, the history of the state is a very compelling story—a place that was carved out of rather hard, harsh geography and climate. I think it was General Sheridan who said, “If I owned Hell and Texas, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell.” This is a harsh place originally, and still can be. [It was] 107 degrees yesterday. I talked to my folks and [there’s a] very dry, very brutal drought going on—but we always have a rather cheery optimism about ourselves as my father is prone to say. It’ll rain, it always does. That’s the classic faith of a dry-land cotton farmer..... So, for me, the essence of being a Texan is, these are people who can sustain through hard times, but they’re people who always think that better days are ahead.

On his agenda, his first 100 days:

That is obviously an issue that is always in conversation or in your mind. At lunch today, [South Carolina Rep.] Tim Scott and I were talking about, “What do you do in the first 100 days?” So, yes, it’s not a, as we go through the appropriate thought process of making a decision about whether or not we’re going to run for the presidency—there’s certainly a parallel track that is ongoing about what do you do when you get there. What [are] America’s needs? And I’ve boiled it down pretty quickly to the four principles that we put in place in Texas that have worked rather well while the rest of the country has been going through some—most certainly the big states—pretty rough times. Texas has—I won’t say we’ve somehow totally missed this recession—but we’ve weathered it better than any other state from the standpoint of job creation. I think that is inarguable. But, don’t spend all the money. I mean, in Washington D.C. if you want to just get down to the pure epicenter, the nucleus of the problem in Washington D.C., is they’re spending too much money. Have a tax structure that’s fair, and as low as you can have it, and still deliver the services that the people require. Have a regulatory climate that is fair, predictable. Predictability is so important. Today in Washington D.C. the idea of predictability in the regulatory climate—it’s not there. That’s the reason there are so many people sitting on their money rather than investing it and taking the entrepreneurial risk. Then obviously, the fourth is to have a legal system that doesn’t allow for over-suing. And then government needs to step back and get out of the way. Stepping back and getting out of the way at the federal level is about allowing the states to compete against each other, the idea that Washington knows best how to educate our children, or knows best how to deliver health care our citizens, or for that matter knows best how to clean up the air. There are examples of each of those that I could go into, but I don’t want to filibuster here.

Here he manages to discuss his decision to run, his wife's support and counsel, and repealing ObamaCare:

Did you [and your wife] say, let’s sit down and figure this out today?

That is a good description. We sat down. My wife, who is a nurse, whose father practiced medicine in that little hometown [that] she grew [in] 52 years is greatly concerned about what’s going to happen to the ability to access health care, the innovation that goes with. I mean we’ve got one of the finest, if not the best, health care systems in the world. She sees Obamacare as destroying that. Obviously as a CEO of a state, the cost associated with this is going to just going to be monstrous—$2.7 billion dollars a year for taxes. And then the secondary, and just as important reason, but I’ll just say the second reason we had this conversation is a 27-year-old and a 24-year-old who are our children. And this monstrous debt that’s been created that’s going to be on their back. They’re going to have to be the generation that doesn’t have the same opportunities that we had because of this out-of-control spending in Washington D.C. Basically, this experiment that this President has sent this country through has been an absolute disaster. So her concerns about the profession that she has spent her lifetime in and loves, being destroyed, and the impact on her children, and the conversation, if I can paraphrase was, “I know you love what you do. I know you think it’s the greatest job in the country. But our country is in trouble, and you need to do your duty.” And at that particular point in time, a person that I greatly love who I’ve been either dating or married to for I think 45 years now, made me realize that I couldn’t sit on the sidelines if my country’s future truly is at stake. And I believe our country truly is at stake, and the future of what we’re going to look like is a problem.

Don't shoot the messenger on this, but I think maybe he makes a big error in his foreign policy question:

I know if you run, you would have foreign policy positions—you give speeches on that. But what are sort of the basic tenets of Rick Perry’s view of America in the world?

Our friends need to know that we’re their friends. The Latvian Prime Minister was in my office three weeks ago and we were having this conversation about the current administration and the almost aimless or wavering position that he takes from a foreign policy standpoint relative to eastern Europe and those counties who are abutted by folks who might not be their friends. Might have thoughts of impacting their country. The idea that the President would make this statement about going back to the ’67 borders sent a chill down all of my friends’ back and certainly mine. Israel is our friend. Israel is a democracy in the middle of a part of the world where having a democracy is really important. Our friends, if I am blessed to become the President of the United States, will know that we will be there day in and day out. I think the most important thing that we can do from a foreign policy standpoint is to be strong economically. Because if we’re not strong economically, we cannot have the resources to be strong militarily. And if we’re not strong militarily than our foreign policy becomes haphazard at best, because countries look at the United States and go, “Well we’ll do what we please because you don’t have the for with all to sent a message that we’re going to be strong militarily. It’s funny how all these things point back to one thing. And that one thing is putting policies in place in the United States to create an environment where job creators have the confidence and can risk their capital and have a good return on the investment.

Unless the Latvian PM gave him permission to float that, that's a diplomatic error. The claim will be made (and it's a fair point) that in an effort to name-drop some foreign policy credentials, he outed a confidential discussion with the Prime Minister of a foreign country.

It is possible, though, that Obama has so alienated Latvia that the PM didn't even say it in confidence. But I doubt that. Few heads of state outside Venezuela or Iran or North Korea are comfortable publicly running down the flaws of whatever President sits in the Oval Office.

Over at Hot Air, Perry is in a virtual tie with Romney as he gears up to officially enter the race. 17/15, with Bachmann at 12.

Ben and Caleb Howe have been kind enough to invite me down to Charleston, SC, for RedState's gathering, where Perry will give a speech making his intentions known, he says.

So I'll be heading down there tomorrow and staying through Sunday for that. (Perry's speech is on Saturday.) I've never actually seen Perry speak before, and I'm curious to see if he's actually good (as people say).

I might be able to get a short interview.

They've asked me to do a live podcast on Saturday, after Perry's announcement (and the other speakers at the event). That's at 9 PM Eastern. So I'll be doing that, too.

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posted by Ace at 12:20 PM

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