Former Texas Governor Rick Perry joined me today:
HH: That was Hillary at her press conference yesterday. I’m joined now by the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry. Governor Perry, did you hear that press conference by Hillary Clinton on Monday or Tuesday?
RP: I did not, but I picked up snippets of it, and it was stunningly obvious that there is something going on there that the American people find very, very smelly.
HH: You know, there are a lot of people who are trying to say Rick Perry should get out of the race. I think the actual question is can Hillary Clinton survive in this race. What do you think, Rick?
RP: Yeah, I think it’s going to be really difficult. The drip, drip, drip of this, American people know what’s going on here. This was an individual who has manipulated this process, if you will, of being in public life for a long time, and though they could get away with hiding their communications in clear violation of statute. But more importantly is the aspect of classified information, information that may put American citizens or our allies in jeopardy. I mean, information that could cost people their lives. I mean, this is not just oh, I don’t want them to hear me talk about some individual in an email conversation. This is at its heart an issue that could be right at making America a less safe place because the Secretary of State decided they wanted to be cute with the way they handled classified information. This is a tragedy.
HH: Now Governor Perry, the irony here is that you, Tom Delay, Chris Christie, the late Ted Stevens, you’ve all been the subject of the criminalization of politics, and that’s a trend I deplore, where prosecutors abuse their power to go after their political enemies. But here, Mrs. Clinton has actually violated, in my view, 18 USC 1924, the very statute that led to the plea bargain by David Petraeus.
HH: And I think people get them confused. This is law breaking. The other four examples I talked about are prosecutors out of control. Will the American public get the difference?
RP: Yeah, I think they will, and I think they will because this is one of those where the media has a real job to do. I mean, I will tell you there’s a time when the media really needs to get focused, when they need to really ask the hard questions, when they don’t need to take the feints and diversions. This is it, because this is about the safety of American citizens. This is about, we don’t know what all is in that information, but we know classified. Hugh, I was a pilot in the United States Air Force. We had classified information that we looked at from time to time. When our air crews were flying from Frankfurt to Berlin, for instance, we went into a secure room, shut the door, opened up the secret manual, read those pieces of information, and signed off on them, shut that manual up, and walked back out. And we flew the missions we were tasked with. This information that she’s had access to, that Lord knows who’s had access to it, I mean, whether it’s her aides, whether it was hacked into by foreign countries, we have no idea. But we do know that protocol was not followed, that laws have been broken, and this is an individual at some of the highest levels in America. So I do think that the American people will understand. I think it is the duty of the media, if there was ever a time for our country’s media to be a watchdog and to really point out the tragedy and the travesty that has occurred, it is now.
HH: Can you imagine if in this put up prosecution that you’ve been enduring, this circus down in Texas, you had at any point responded I’m sorry, I’m not giving you something, or I have erased my emails, or I have deleted tapes, what would have happened to Rick Perry if you had done that?
RP: Well, what went on with us is clearly in Travis County, which is clearly a blue of a very red state. The people of the county, they’ve been involved with political persecution for a long time. Tom Delay is a great example of it. They went after Kay Bailey Hutchison, all bogus stuff. A drunk D.A., who I mean, blew three times the legal limit, war in charge of seven and a half million dollars of state money. And I saw that tape, the way this individual treated law enforcement when they arrested her and put her in jail, had to put a spit mask on her, and that was all I needed to see, Hugh. When the governor of the state of Texas, who can veto a piece of legislation for whatever reason, I mean, that’s, the idea that I’m being held, and being indicted, if you will, for doing the job of a governor vetoing a piece of legislation, and particularly when people saw this, I mean, it’s clear that this one truly is a political vendetta…
RP: …a prosecutor that’s out of control. And you know, at the end of the day, we’re going to be found, the 3rd Court of Appeals has already thrown out, you know, one of the charges. But the issue is we’re just going to keep this guy tied up, we’re going to make you spend a lot of money, we’re going to hold this dark cloud over you and hopefully knock you out of the presidential race with it. Well, I’ve got some news for it. I’m not getting out of the presidential race.
HH: That’s what I wanted to ask you about.
RP: I’m going to stand up for the American people. I’m going to stand up for the rule of law. I’m going to stand up and show the American people this is the kind of leadership you need in the White House, that believe in the rule of law, and is not going to let a bunch of thuggish behavior push us around.
HH: Some reporters are trying to push you out saying you’re out of money. What’s your response to that, Rick Perry?
RP: I’ve been out of money for a lot of times in my life, whether it was in my personal life or was in my business life. As a matter of fact, when I was the governor in 2003, we were $10 billion dollars short. And I addressed it by cutting back on spending. We cut back spending in our personal life when we came up short, we cut back spending when I was the governor of Texas in 2003, and we’ll cut back here and have a smaller footprint. But we’re not going to be leaving the presidential race. Ronald Reagan was out of money back in 1980, I think. John McCain’s been out of money before. But it doesn’t mean you’re out of spirit. It doesn’t mean you’re out of ideas. It doesn’t mean you’re out of people that are willing to go work and to put your story forward. Nobody on that stage, nobody, Democrat or Republican, has a record of delivering from the standpoint of being a chief executive of the 12th largest economy in the world, in my case, job creation that’s untouchable by anybody on that stage. If Americans want somebody to go to the White House, get this country back on track from the standpoint of creating jobs, get this country back on track, because I’ve worn the uniform of this country. It’s not, this isn’t an educational process for me. This is the real deal for me. I’ve been the chief executive, and I’ve been the commander-in-chief of the Texas National Guard when we deployed those troops last summer because the federal government failed to do its job on securing that border. I know how to secure the border. I know how to get this country back from an economic standpoint. And I know how to lead America and give Americans hope that its best days are in front of it, because I believe it with all my heart we’ve got to get these policies in place.
HH: Governor, are you going all the way to Cleveland?
RP: Absolutely, and you know, that, I’m not in this for the fun of it. I’m not in it for any other reason than to take the conservative values that we know work, and we’ve got a track record to back it up. And I think the American people, this is a long race. This is a marathon. This isn’t a sprint. There’s a lot of time left. There are a lot of debates. There’s a lot of work to be done. I’m going to spend the time in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. That’s where the real rubber meets the road, Hugh.
HH: I will see you at the next debate in Simi Valley and beyond, Rick Perry, great to talk to you as always. Thanks for joining me.
End of interview.