Reporting Jack Fink
PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) - Governor Rick Perry’s first campaign for President did not finish as he planned. But during a one-on-one interview with CBS 11 News reporter Jack Fink in Plano on Wednesday, it sounded like he wants to give a run for the White House another try. “2016 is way down the road,” Perry said, “but I’ll assure you one thing. If I decide to run for the presidency in 2016, I’ll be in way before the summer of 2016, 2015 even.”
Fink: “It sounds like you’re really interested?”
Perry: “Yeah, I am. I love this country. As long as my health stays good, as it is, and my family is supportive, I’m certainly going to give it a good examination.”
Fink: “Does that mean you will run for re-election here in Texas in 2014?”
Perry: “I’m certainly going to give that the appropriate consideration. My instincts are very positive towards it right now, but we’ll wait until after the legislative session to make that announcement.”
The next session will not end until late May 2013, after lawmakers pass a state budget. This week, Perry began travelling the state to campaign for his conservative budgeting principles for the upcoming session. The Governor addressed the Plano Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. There, he challenged lawmakers to end the practice of accounting tricks to balance the budget, oppose any new taxes or tax increases, keep a strong Rainy Day Fund, support a constitutional limit of spending to the growth of population and inflation, and cut unnecessary programs.
On Tuesday, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus said in Washington, “We welcome the input of the executive, but the Legislature needs to assert itself from time to time.” Straus then said that he will not sign any pledges.
Perry downplayed any potential differences with Straus. “He’s running for re-election,” Perry said. “He gets to make the decision on whether he is for those five principles. He actually says he’s for those principles.”
Perry said that Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is on-board with the principles. “Dewhurst not only went to our website, but he signed up his support of the program,” the Governor said. Perry also made it clear that he continues to back Dewhurst’s run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison. “He’s been a loyal team player. He’s been a real part of the progress we made in the State of Texas. So, I don’t think it surprises anybody that I’ve been a supporter of David’s, and I continue to be.”
Both Perry and Dewhurst have sharply criticized President Barack Obama’s administration.
Texas is locked in a legal battle with Planned Parenthood over the Women’s Health Program, which offers cancer screenings and birth control to 130,000 low income women statewide. After the state kicked out Planned Parenthood from participating in the program, the federal government said that it would drop its funding of the program. Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming its constitutional rights are being violated. Perry responded by saying, “Here’s what Planned Parenthood needs to be honest about. They do not have a lock on state money. The Texas Legislature made the decision not to fund Planned Parenthood or their affiliates, because they were in the abortion business. That is the Texas Legislature’s right to decide that. I happen to agree with it.”
For its part, Planned Parenthood said that it went to court to stand up for the tens of thousands of Texas women who seek access to affordable, high quality care from their trusted provider. Democrats have accused Republicans of waging war against women, but Perry rejected that, and blamed the President. “If there’s a war against women, it’s President Obama, because he could have clearly allowed the federal dollars, which is our money by the way, that we send up there. If he cared about women, he would have said, ‘Fine, you know what, I agree. You get to decide where the dollars go.’ But he didn’t. He said, ‘We’re not going to fund that program.’ We decided on our own, that program is too important, we’re funding it.”
Once the federal funding ends, the state will pay for the entire program itself.
A spokeswoman with the Texas Democratic Party said that it is ridiculous for the Governor to blame the President for causing the dispute, and that women have a right to choose their own health providers.
Though his presidential run has come to an end, Perry is still supporting former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. And even though Perry sparred with former Massachusetts Governor and frontrunner Mitt Romney, he said that he has moved past all of that. “My competitors are my competitors during a race. Once that’s over with, I am going to work for the betterment of this country,” Perry said. “If Mitt Romney is in fact our nominee, I’m going to be working hard and supporting him.”
Perry also said that he does not think his “oops” moment during one of the debates — when he forgot the name of the third federal agency that he would shut down — caused his downfall in the race. “I just think that’s part of life,” he said. “We’re all going to fail at some particular point in life, not on a daily basis. Just put a good face on it and press on.”
Fink: “Did you think, at that point on the stage, uh-oh, this could be the end of my campaign?
Perry: “No, I don’t think it was.”
Instead, Perry said, the problem began during a prior debate, when he criticized those who attacked the state’s policy of giving in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants. “Our immigration policy in Texas has always been about economics,” Perry explained. “I said something about not having a heart, and I think that had a substantially bigger effect on people going, ‘Wait a minute, it’s about my heart, Governor.’ It’s about straight economics. I apologized for that, but I think the damage was done.”
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