Texas Governor Rick Perry joined me for the first segment of today’s show. The transcript:
HH: I want to begin today’s program with Texas Governor, Rick Perry. Governor Perry, welcome back to California. It’s great to have you in our state.
RP: It is my great pleasure to be here, and just as we start off, just keep people in Texas in your thoughts and prayers as we’re struggling and fighting some massive wildfires out in Central Texas, as a matter of fact, all across Texas, some 76 different fires, 130,000 new acres burned off, 3.6 million total since the fire season started. It’s been a tough one.
HH: Governor, how can the audience help people in Texas? I know more than a thousand families have lost their homes.
RP: Yeah, American Red Cross is a great way, the Baptist Men’s Association, again, we’ve got some wonderful charitable organizations in this state. And unfortunately, Texas is very adept at dealing with these types of disasters, and I say unfortunately, because we face them so often, whether it’s hurricanes the size of Rita, and right after we have massive numbers of people come in from Katrina, to floods, to tornados, it’s…we spend a lot of time dealing with these natural disasters. We’ve got one of the greatest teams in the country to deal with them, but it is tough to watch people lose their homes, their possessions that they’ve put together for a lifetime. And unfortunately, we’re beginning to see some loss of life as well. So those are a couple of ways that they can help through the American Red Cross and the Baptist charities. [# More #]
HH: Governor, at the debate tonight, I imagine we’ll hear a lot of criticism of President Obama. Why do you think he has failed so thoroughly in his first two-plus years in office?
RP: Well, certainly, one of the things that he’s done is proven that you cannot spend your way to prosperity. I mean, these stimulus programs, government spending does not create jobs. I mean, if one thing he has done, he has proven that Keynesian policies have failed again, monumentally, and hopefully no one will ever try those again. Getting this country back to working, and we know how to do that – Texas is a great blueprint for it. You reduce the tax burden on the men and women who are the job creators out there. You get the regulatory boot off their throat, and you let the private sector do what the private sector does best, which is create jobs, which in turn create wealth. This country can boom again. Let me tell you, you create an environment where the American entrepreneur knows that they’re not going to be overtaxed, over-regulated, and this country will take off like a rocket in space.
HH: Does President Obama know how to govern, in your opinion? You just mentioned the many things that happened in Texas, where someone’s got to walk in, take command, and get stuff done. And I sometimes wonder if he just isn’t thinking this is a seminar as opposed to an exercise in governing.
RP: Well, you know, there’s two things in life – reasons and results. And reasons don’t count. And all too often, we’ve heard this president talk about well, here’s the reason it’s not working. Mr. President, what matters is results. And the American people know how to deliver on those results, but they can’t when they are overtaxed and over-regulated, and frankly, over-litigated in too many cases. So it’s really some pretty simple principles. We’ve put them in place in Texas. We created a million jobs in the state of Texas while I’ve been governor. This president, in the two and a half years that he has been the president, has overseen the killing of a million jobs.
HH: We are on the cusp of 9/11’s 10th anniversary, Governor Perry. Are President Obama’s policies in the war on terror making us more or less safe and secure than we were under President Bush?
RP: Well, I’ve got to say that his foreign policy is at best aimless, wavering. Our friends around the world really don’t know where we’re going to be. So from just that one position, I would suggest to you that we’re not as safe today as we were back when George Bush left office, because our allies do not know where we’re…I mean, Israel’s a great example. I mean, Israel was thrown under the bus by this president when he basically said we’re going to go back to the 1967 borders. And that’s just unconscionable for a president of the United States to do that to the oldest democracy that we have in the Middle East, and our friend. We need to be standing with Israel, we need to be supporting them, and sending a clear message to those individuals who continue to say we’ll wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. Until they completely and absolutely turn their back on terrorism, in both word and deed, and do not stand by the statements that they do not respect Israel’s right to exist, until that happens, I’ve got to tell you, the Palestinian Authority, and having a Palestinian state, is not going to happen and should not happen.
HH: Governor Perry, should President Obama or his successor use military force if necessary to keep the Iranians from obtaining nuclear weapons?
RP: I think all of us understand that Iran is the biggest problem in the Middle East. I mean, they are fostering terrorism, they’re supplying arms that are killing American servicemen and women, they’re trying to get their hands on a nuclear weapon, and you’ve got a president in Ahmadinejad who’s basically said Israel ought to be removed from the face of the Earth. And I know what that means. So we should use every tool that we have at our disposal, be it foreign policy, be it our State Department, be it diplomatic, be it economic, be it covert or overt efforts, and never, ever take the military option off the table. He needs to understand something. We as the United States are never going to allow him, with his clear intentions to destroy Israel, to have a nuclear weapon.
HH: Now Governor Perry, back to the 9/11 anniversary coming up. If you’re president, will Guantanamo Bay remain open? And will you end the prosecution of the CIA counterterrorism people that President Obama and Eric Holder has launched?
RP: Look, I think it’s…you know, one of the things, I give a tip of the hat to Obama for keeping Guantanamo Bay open, even against the desires of his base. Thank you for doing that, sir, because it has been a very useful tool in continuing to fight the war on terror. And you’d better believe if I’m the president of the United States, not only will I keep it open, but we will be clearly sending the message that we will use every legal means to extract information from these individuals who would do terror to America, to our allies, or worse yet, to destroy young American lives.
HH: Now Governor Perry, you’ve attracted a lot of criticism. The New York Times’ Bill Keller, who’s now a columnist, used to be their editor, says you’re a dominionist. And Dana Milbank of the Washington Post says you’re a theocrat. What do you put down to these attacks, particularly those on your religion?
RP: Well obviously, they’re real scare of me, is what I would say. And they understand that America is longing for someone who stands up and tells it like it is, someone who know what they believe in, someone who is not afraid of the left. And I’m not going to cower, whether it’s someone who’s writing for any of the mainstream media. If they want to attack me, have at it. But I know what I believe it, and I’m going to go forward, full-bore, full tilt, because I believe in America. I know that our best days are in front of us, and I know if you’ll free up the American entrepreneur, and clearly tell them, listen, you risk your capital, and you’re going to have an opportunity to have a return on your investment, our best days are ahead of us. The greatest exploit in America’s history has not been written, yet, because we have that type of spirit in this country. And you know, write what they will. I know what I believe in, and I think I’m on the better side of the angels on this one, because I truly know that America believes that we have the work ethic, the values…we just need to be freed from these federal government regulations that are killing jobs, and sending the message that don’t risk your capital, because you’re not going to have a chance to have a return on your investment.
HH: Last question, Governor Perry, we’ve got about a minute to the break. What do you make of the Fast & Furious investigation as a border governor, knowing that the Obama administration sold weapons to the Mexican cartels?
RP: Well, only surpassed by their absolute abysmal failure to secure our border is this action of actually supplying weapons to those that would do harm. There’s been 41,000-plus Mexicans killed. We’re seeing the spillover of violence into our country. I know how to secure the border. You put the boots on the ground. I’ve had a request for a thousand National Guard troops since January of ’09 with this administration, and they have given deafening silence. The president of the United States comes to El Paso, and makes the statement that the border with the United States and Mexico is safer than it’s ever been. That is either an abject lie or he has the poorest intelligence apparatus this country’s ever had. The border with Mexico is dangerous, and we’ve got to secure it.
HH: Governor, we are out of time. Thank you for joining us, Governor, good luck in the debate tonight. We’ll talk to you again soon.
End of interview.