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Video: Texas gov. is ‘Fed Up!’ with Washington

  1. Transcript of: Texas gov. is ‘Fed Up!’ with Washington

    MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: Back now with one of the Republicans who could be a prime contender in the race for the White House in 2012 . Texas Governor Rick Perry was elected to a historic third term on Tuesday, and he is out with a new book, "Fed Up! Our Fight to save America from Washington ." Governor Perry , good morning to you.

    Governor RICK PERRY (Republican, Texas): Good morning.

    VIEIRA: First of all, Tuesday, a very good day for the Republicans . Was it a repudiation of the Obama administration, or an embrace of the Republican agenda, or, as Marco Rubio put it, a second chance for the Republicans to get it right?

    Gov. PERRY: Yeah, I think it was a multitude of things. Certainly, I think Marco Rubio got it right, as well. The work's in front of us now. And I think the American people said, 'Listen, we're spending too much money on things that we don't want. So go back, get it right.' And I think that's what you're going to see as a result, is that the Republicans in Congress and Republicans all across the country from the standpoint of quit spending money we don't have on things we don't want.

    VIEIRA: Yeah, but you've also said -- you said in your book that Washington has too much power, has...

    Gov. PERRY: Right.

    VIEIRA: Power has to be returned to the states . But now that Republicans are in power, at least when it comes to the House , do you think they're going to be willing to relinquish it right away? Or will they become intoxicated by it?

    Gov. PERRY: Well, if they want to stay in office, they better get back to the principles of the Constitution , which is what my book's about. It's about freedom. It's about giving Americans their freedom back. Washington has consolidated it, the Supreme Court has confirmed it in all too many cases in direct conflict with the Constitution , from my perspective. But that is what Americans want. They sent the message of, 'Listen, we got too much government . It's costing us too much.' That was the message on Tuesday night across the country.

    VIEIRA: And that was one of the messages that the tea party was putting forward.

    Gov. PERRY: Yeah.

    VIEIRA: You were one of the first people to really come out and support it. You spoke at a rally back in April 2009 . Obviously, they re-energized the party, but there are lot of people within the party who say that they may force the Republicans too far to the right. Are you concerned about that come 2012 ?

    Gov. PERRY: I think Republicans just need to listen to the people, and the people were very clear on Tuesday night. We got more government than we can pay for. Pare it back, we want our freedoms back. And I think it's a good primer, "Fed Up!" is, about the Constitution , the relationship with the states . States ought to be the laboratories of innovation.

    VIEIRA: Let's get to the book because it does come out right after the midterm election.

    Gov. PERRY: Right.

    VIEIRA: Where have we seen that before? George W. Bush released his book right after he announced he was running for president. Barack Obama did the same thing. Are you next? Do you plan to run for president in 2012 ?

    Gov. PERRY: If there is -- if there is a better signal of my plans for the future of not running for the presidency of the United States , it's this book. Anyone running for the presidency is not going to go take on these issues with the power that I do.

    VIEIRA: So you don't see any scenario where the party may come to you and say, 'We need you in 2012 ,' and you would accept?

    Gov. PERRY: I don't see that scenario at all.

    VIEIRA: But if they did?

    Gov. PERRY: At all means at all.

    VIEIRA: You're saying like, no, off the table.

    Gov. PERRY: I'm not -- I'm not running for the presidency of the United States . I've got the greatest job in the world...

    VIEIRA: Today, tomorrow, or within the next two years.

    Gov. PERRY: ...being the governor of the state of Texas . And I think governors, whether you're Democrat or Republican, should be pushing back from Washington , DC , and saying, 'Listen, leave us alone. We know how to best run our states .' That government that's closest to the people is the best government .

    VIEIRA: I know that you were disappointed with George W. Bush once he became president because you said he was no longer a true fiscal conservative . Is that what this Republican Party needs to put forward in 2012 in order to win?

    Gov. PERRY: George W. Bush did a incredible job in the presidency defending us from freedom. I had some criticism of the Congress during that entire period of time. I wish the president had vetoed some bills. But the fact is we've got to get back to our principal, base belief that fiscal conservativism is what Americans want. And I think that's exactly what you see in this book, and that's what the elections were really all about.

    VIEIRA: And, you know, everybody talks about cutting federal spending, all of the Republicans . You're not in Washington , so you don't actually have to pass these bills, so you're in a good position to say what would you cut, specifically?

    Gov. PERRY: Well, I think you start with earmarks is a great place to cut. I think that's, frankly, unconstitutional from the standpoint of not even having a debate. You prioritize what's important, you separate the wants from the needs, and you fund those priorities and then you reduce the spending. Washington can do this. It just takes some courageous men and women to stand up and say, 'We're not going to fund these.' Just stand to thwart history and fight. Fight for those conservative values and fight for fiscal conservativism.

    VIEIRA: All right, Rick Perry , thank you very much .

    Gov. PERRY: You're welcome. Thank you.

    VIEIRA: Governor, congratulations once again.

    Gov. PERRY: You're welcome.

TODAY books
updated 11/3/2010 4:50:27 PM ET 2010-11-03T20:50:27

Texas Gov. Rick Perry writes in his book "Fed Up!" that big government has hurt America. In this excerpt, he shares why he believes politicians in Washington are to blame.

I grew up in Paint Creek, Texas. If you can’t find it on a map, I won’t be surprised. Just look for Haskell, Texas, population 3,000, and then go a few miles to the south and the east and you might find it. We were cotton farmers. We believed in God, we believed in taking care of ourselves and one another, and we believed that America was the greatest nation on earth. We still do. Serving as the governor of Texas for almost ten years has given me a unique perspective on the current state of things in our country. And from my vantage point, I see a nation filled with good, hardworking people who are wondering what happened to the country they knew. It wasn’t so long ago that we were expected to pay our bills, we were able to pray at the town meeting, and we believed it was important to rely on ourselves or our families rather than government.

Now, cynics will say that I decided to write this book because I seek higher office. They are wrong: I already have the best job in America. I wrote this book because I believe that America is great but also that America is in trouble — and heading for a cliff if we don’t take immediate steps to change course. I wrote this book in the hopes that it will lead to a new conversation about the proper role of government in our lives and perhaps be a step toward renewing our collective appreciation for the genius of our nation’s federal system of government — when it works the way it is supposed to.

I believe that government is best when it is closest to the people. I believe that states are the critical components of our federal system of government, that the Founders recognized their importance, and that empowering the states is the best way to ensure our God- given right to live according to the dictates of our consciences. I believe that we have let establishment politicians on both sides of the aisle empower Washington at the expense of states, and thus our liberty. I believe that our fight today is to restore the proper balance of power in order to ensure that America can remain free and prosperous — and capable of continuing to lead the world.

Chapter one
Something is terribly wrong. There is a sense among Americans that the world we have always known is in danger of being turned upside down.

Now, do not misunderstand me. America is great. Our nation has done, and continues to do, more for the cause of freedom around the world than any nation in the history of man. And our nation is filled with people, whether they were born here or came here in search of the American dream, who are driven by faith, determination, personal responsibility, and self- reliance. They are forging better lives for themselves and their children. This is the land of opportunity — a place where, after all, a rural cotton farmer from Paint Creek, Texas, can become governor.

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Americans have fed more people, clothed more people, healed more people, and improved the lives of more people — and more quickly — than any other society the world has known. And we have done it by believing in the individual, by defending liberty, no matter the price, and by demonstrating a living, abiding faith that has compelled us throughout the generations to act against evil and to advance good. But America is in trouble, and the people know it. We sense that our way of life and, perhaps more importantly, our ability to decide how we shall live, is no longer in our control but in the control of an increasingly powerful and oppressive national government — a government run by people who simply do not share our values or our beliefs and blatantly ignore its limits.

In short, it is not America that is broken; it is Washington that is broken. You can’t argue with the fact that power has increasingly been consolidated in Washington. In 1960, the government of the United States spent approximately $92 billion annually, or $509 per person. By 1987, that figure had grown to $1 trillion, or $4,127 per person. This year, federal spending is projected to surpass $3.7 trillion, or $11,500 per person.  There are over 2 million civilian federal employees, an additional 1.5 million in the U.S. military (that part is a good thing), and millions more involved in federal contracts. There are over 4,500 independent federal criminal laws and over 163,000 pages of federal regulations scattered across hundreds of agencies in 15 different departments.  The federal tax code and its supporting regulations total over 9 million words across thousands of pages.

The federal government is massive and grows more so by the day. Indeed, by the end of the 111th Congress, there will likely be more than 6,500 new bills introduced in the House of Representatives and 4,000 more in the Senate, designed, ostensibly, to cure the nation’s ills.

Of course, it never occurs to the power brokers in Washington that perhaps they are the cause of much of what ails us. But it occur to the American people. I have had the privilege of meeting and talking with tens of thousands of my fellow citizens from all walks of life, and I can tell you one thing for certain: the American people are fed up.

We are fed up with being overtaxed and overregulated. We are tired of being told how much salt we can put on our food, what windows we can buy for our house, what kind of cars we can drive, what kinds of guns we can own, what kind of prayers we are allowed to say and where we can say them, what political speech we are allowed to use to elect candidates, what kind of energy we can use, what kind of food we can grow, what doctor we can see, and countless other restrictions on our right to live as we see fit.

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We are fed up with a federal government that has the arrogance to preach to us about how to live our lives, and the chutzpah to haul every baseball player and other “evildoer” in the world before a congressional committee — or some comic such as Stephen Colbert. Meanwhile, Congress, arguably one of the most incompetent regimes with one of the worst track records of mismanagement in the history of mankind, runs up over $13 trillion and counting in debt.

We are fed up with bailout after bailout and stimulus plan after stimulus plan, each one of which tosses principle out the window along with taxpayer money. We can’t even keep up with all the spending, be it the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the auto industry bailout, the AIG bailout, or President Obama’s failed $787 billion “Recovery Act.” The list goes on and on.

We are fed up with a federal government that pledged $200 billion to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when their mismanagement, coupled with ridiculous federal regulations, led to the inappropriate lending policies underlying the financial crisis in the first place. And we are fed up with tax credits that amount to pure giveaways to certain citizens at the expense of others — the government picking winners and losers based on circumstance and luck with no real benefit to the economy.

We are fed up with a Department of Homeland Security that refuses to secure our borders, resulting in more than 10 million people living in our country illegally, thousands more coming in daily from all over the world, and almost 1,000 children being born in our country every day to parents who are here illegally. Meanwhile, politicians use the issue of immigration as a political tool to divide Americans.

We are fed up with a self-interested Congress that spends its time earmarking over 9,000 pet projects in 2010 worth over $16 billion, a number Democrats tout as an accomplishment because it represents just over half of the peak amount of $29 billion under Republicans in 2006 — all of which corrupts the political process and wastes our money. We are fed up with a Congress that often fails to even read the legislation it passes and that increasingly writes laws, such as the health care bill, that are over 2,000 pages long.

We are fed up with activist judges who tell us what is right and wrong and deny us the right to live as we see fit — from deciding when life begins and where the Ten Commandments can be displayed to telling the people how to punish criminals.

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We are fed up that Social Security and Medicare teeter on the verge of bankruptcy, amassing unfathomable liabilities for future generations, that the federal government refuses to admit it, and that there is no leadership in Washington to do anything about it — unless you count yet another committee chaired by a retired senator that will no doubt be appointed to fix them.

We are fed up with a federal government arrogant enough to declare it knows more about our health than our doctor and that is willing to risk the best health care system in the world while blatantly lying that it is not on the path to a single-payer, government-run system.

But perhaps most of all we are fed up because deep down we know how great America has always been, how many great things the people have done in spite of their government, and how great the nation can be in the future if government will just get out of the way.

America is great. Yet for some in our nation, to make such a statement is considered arrogant, close-minded, or jingoistic — the kind of thing said by cowboys, as if it is a bad thing to be a cowboy.

Excerpted from “Fed Up!” by Rick Perry. Copyright (c) 2010, reprinted with permission from Little, Brown and Company.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive


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