Speaking to conservative talk show host, Laura Ingraham, Texas Gov. Rick Perry unloaded several rounds into typical right-wing targets, namely former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, China, and Martha’s Vineyard.
The once GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney attracted a fairly minor barrage of fire by Perry standards. Baited by Ingraham to discuss the main albatross around Romney’s neck, his Massachusetts healthcare plan that formed the basis for “Obamacare,” Perry simply said, “I think Mitt is finally recognizing that the Massachusetts healthcare is a problem for him,” before pivoting off to a broader attack on Obama’s plan. Perry claimed to hope that this would not be a major issue in next year’s general election because “hopefully” by then the Supreme Court will have ruled the individual mandate component of the plan unconstitutional.
Perry returned again and again to two themes he’s so far made the crux of his campaign: jobs and a “tough” international posture.
First, he pushed back at criticisms of his record as governor of Texas, calling it a “jobs-creation Mecca.” He also tackled attacks on the state’s education system, saying Texan students’ results compared favorably to, oh, say… Massachusetts. He also took on the increasingly apparent discord between his camp and that of former Texas governor and US President George W. Bush. Here, he tucked his six-shooter into his holster and spoke the language of peace. “I respect him and consider him to be a friend,” he said of Bush, before moving on to speak of his father. “I don’t think there’s a better man, a more honorable man than George H. W. Bush,” he continued. “He’s one of the finest men I’ve met in my life… He’s like everyone’s grandfather.”
Having sown conciliation at home, he turned a flashing eye abroad. Asked about the rise of China, he said the U.S. needed a “strong foreign policy.” He then lambasted a decision by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates “under, I suppose, the direction of this President” to shelve a “next-generation” fighter plane program because they didn’t believe the Chinese equivalent would be ready until 2025. “Well guess what?” he asked Ingraham. “It’s going to be deployed by 2017. That’s the type of bad intelligence and bad diplomacy we can’t have in this country.”
Asked about “free trade” and “fair trade” Perry said, “we need to be tough traders,” and said America should circumvent treaties that “put us at at competitive disadvantage just to put a smile on the faces of the diplomacy people.”
As the smoke cleared, Perry offered a final parting shot. Asked by Ingraham to pledge that he would never vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Perry replied, “I’m not even sure where it is.” Ingraham laughed and concluded, “That’s good enough for me.”