HH: Pleased to welcome back now Texas Governor Rick Perry. His website is www.rickperry.org. Governor, welcome, it’s always a pleasure to have you.
RP: Good to be with you. I miss being in Southern California and seeing you from time to time.
HH: Well, come back soon, and the California primary’s in June, so you can sit in studio. But I saw that you were at Lizard’s Thicket Restaurant in Lexington, South Carolina recently. That’s very retail politics in the Palmetto State, Governor.
RP: We are making a real stand here in South Carolina, and retail politics, I will suggest to you, is one of the ways that you carry the day. But also, we’ve got a good ground game here. Bobby Harrell, who’s the speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 22 of his colleagues, and then a host of veterans, including Medal of Honor recipient General Jim Livingston, and Navy SEAL Mike Thornton, a couple of well known South Carolinians endorsing our campaign. So we’ve got quite a ground game going in South Carolina as well. We’re going to be bringing in Marcus Lutrell, who’s the Navy SEAL, the author of Lone Survivor, along with Chris Kyle, who’s new book, American Sniper, another Navy SEAL and highly decorated, along with just a host of former military and veterans who are standing up and saying listen, we’ve looked at the candidates, and Rick Perry not only wore the uniform of this country, but also has been the commander in chief of over 20,000 National Guard troops for the last 11 years. And we want to see him in the White House, because we know he’ll not only support the veterans when they come home, he’ll also be a commander in chief that has had the direct experience of both wearing the uniform and commanding our troops.
HH: Governor Perry, these Defense cuts that President…I’ll come to the campaign stuff I a second. These Defense cuts that President Obama recommended last week, they strike at the heart of military preparedness. How much are you hearing about that on the stump?
RP: Well, I get some really great responses from the crowds. We’re having big crowds at all of these events. And I will tell you the biggest response I get is when I talk about a part-time Congress, and cutting the time that Congressmen stay in Washington, cut their pay, cut their staffs, let them have real jobs back home like other people do, and live under the laws that they pass. Just like legislatures in a lot of the states do, of course, in California, you all have a full-time legislature and you’re paying the price for it, but in my home state, and in a host of others, there are part-time legislatures like in Texas, 140 days every other year. We pay them $600 dollars a month. They come in, they get their work done, and they go home. But I’m telling you, next to that is the response of a $1 trillion dollar cut in our Department of Defense budget by this President, will put America’s freedoms in peril. People understand that. That’s not an applause line. That is one of those “Oh, my God,” lines. And Americans, and South Carolinians, and I don’t think this is just a southern issue. From the top of Maine all the way down to Southern California, I would suggest to you that Americans understand. We’ve already got a military that is highly reduced in its effectiveness from the standpoint of the funding that has historically come its way. Our Navy is at one of the lowest levels since World War I. Our Air Force may be at the lowest level ever from the standpoint of size. And that impact, both from a standpoint of a citizen of this country who understands how important having an international impact, I mean, our enemies are emboldened, and our allies are nervous today because of the muddled foreign policy this President is putting in place. When you stack on top of that his $1 trillion dollar cut that he’s talking about to our military budget, then people should be greatly concerned, frankly, afraid for the future of this country.
HH: Governor, you also talk a lot about energy. And your neighboring governor, Mary Fallin, was on with me last hour talking about the Keystone XL pipeline. Do you expect President Obama to approve that or to veto that pipeline?
RP: Well, you know, I hold out hope that this President understands that the Canadians, although their a great ally, our neighbor to the north, they’re not going to leave that oil in the ground. It’s either going to go west to China, or it’s going to go south to the United States for consumption and refining. This President has a decision to make. I understand the radical environmental left that he’s listening to, but on the other side of that is the decision of a lot of Americans who are going to lose jobs if that pipeline doesn’t go through, including Teamsters Union members. I mean, a union that’s historically been pretty supportive of Obama, and they’re asking for this pipeline to be built. But the more important national policy, national security issue is Mr. President, are you going to pick China? Or are you going to pick the United States? And that’s really the question that has to be answered by this President at the end of the day.
HH: Now Governor Perry, to the campaign, I had a caller in the first hour, an investment banker from Houston, I’ve actually met him before down at one of the events for your Senate candidates. He called to say he’s very upset with your critique of Bain, and he’s a contributor of yours. And I’m wondering, do you regret that critique, or your choice of words, vulture, and picking the bones sort of stuff?
RP: Well, listen, I’m in Gaffney, South Carolina, some months ago, talking to people that lost their jobs. And I am a great fan of venture capitalism. I mean, in the state of Texas, it’s pretty hard to argue that we don’t have some great venture capitalists there, and people who go in to create jobs. And the fact is, that is the type of leadership that we should be looking for in America, is an individual who every day is trying to create jobs. And the idea that somehow or another that we can’t critique folks in the venture capital business who frankly are looking to turn a quick profit, and with no thought given to the individuals who are fixing to lose their jobs, I mean, I’d like to see, I’d like to see the individuals who are coming in to turn these companies around really do a good job of turning them around, not just going out there and stripping off all the assets that are worth any money and pitching people out of work where they lose their pensions, they lose their salaries, they go unemployed.
HH: Governor, I’ve got to go to a break. If I can, I’ll keep you over. www.rickperry.org is the website for Governor Perry. I’ll be right back, America, on the Hugh Hewitt Show.
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HH: Joined by Governor Rick Perry of Texas, www.rickperry.org. Governor, we ran out of time on that segment. I wanted to give you a chance to finish your thought about the kind of venture capital that you approve of.
RP: Yeah, well, by and large, keeping these companies, and doing everything you can to keep the individuals employed, and I mean, look, I get it, that there are some of these companies that are going to go under. But all too often, what has happened between Washington and Wall Street is really indefensible. And you know, I know we’re painting here with a rather large brush, or I am. I certainly admit that from the standpoint of what I’m fixing to say. But Americans have really lost confidence not only in Congress, but also in Wall Street. And so when you have these stories about companies coming in and making huge profits, and people losing their jobs, it is going to be brought up in a political sense. And you know, the criticism that some may have about myself, listen. Barack Obama is no fool, and neither is his campaign. They’re going to bring this issue up. And we need to be talking about it now to find out if it is a fatal flaw that Governor Romney has in his days at Bain. And let’s air it now. Let’s talk about it.
HH: If he’s the nominee, Governor, will you have any trouble supporting him?
RP: There’s not a person on that stage that I’m competing against that I’m not going to support. I’m planning on it being myself. But there’s not a person on that stage that I’m not going to work diligently and long and hard for.
HH: Okay, last question. You just mentioned people on the stage. I must say, your patience with these moderators is admirable, Governor. I honestly do not know how you get through a David Gregory debate, or George Stephanopoulos debate without laughing. What’s going on in your mind when you hear their loaded questions?
RP: Well obviously, this is all about reality TV, and frankly, making money for the networks. I mean, we’ve basically become pawns of the media from the standpoint of, you know, we’re not talking about the issues in a one minute reflection, frankly, on some very, very idiotic questions. I mean, the idea about contraceptives that was asked the other night was just off the scale from the standpoint of being of any importance in this country. So you know, it is what it is, and we’re going to continue on. One of the reasons we’re involved with so much retail politics in South Carolina is that I want to talk directly to the people. We’re having open, lengthy discussions at all of these events that we’re doing, and I feel pretty confident that the South Carolina voter is paying attention, and they’re looking for an outsider, not one of these insiders either on Wall Street or Washington, D.C., to lead this country, somebody that’s got a track record of creating jobs and of cutting the tax burden and the regulatory burden. The insiders? They’ve had their chance. And it’s time to have an outsider come in and overhaul Washington, D.C.
HH: Governor Rick Perry, thanks for joining us, www.rickperry.org, America, to check up on the Governor’s website.
End of interview.