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CNN "Larry King Live" - Transcript

Interview

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KING: Hang in there, mayor, Mayor Bill White, the mayor of Houston.

Let's go to Austin, Texas, Governor Rick Perry joins us.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Hi, Larry.

KING: At this point, is Texas as prepared as it's going to be, governor?

PERRY: I believe so. We've been practicing these types of events for over four years now and we learn from each one of them. Sometimes they're exercises. Sometimes they're the real thing as tropical storm Allison (ph) was some three years ago and dumped $5 billion worth of damage on Houston. We had the space shuttle disaster. We had the Queen Isabella Causeway that was a manmade disaster.

So, all of those exercises together and good coordination, as you just got through talking with Mayor White, the county Judge Eckels in Houston, when you go over into Jefferson County, Beaumont into Port Arthur and Mayor Ortiz, those are great people who have been wonderful to work with. And, I think our message tonight is to those people who, number one, are in that strike area to be prepared, you know. They've reached the places of safety. And, to the loved ones of those folks know that we're going to do everything possible to make sure that our search and rescue starts as quickly as we can after this storm passes.

We got over 5,000 National Guard troops. We got some 2,000 Department of Public Safety troopers, game wardens, other law enforcement that are ready to respond, as well as some substantial number of federal troops that are being coordinated to go in and I think it will be one of the most successful search and rescue type operations in Texas history as this evacuation has been.

It's been nothing less than biblical in its proportion but also very professionally done and you move two and a half million people over the course of 36, 40 hours just it was phenomenal. I know there was a little frustration out there but these people did the right thing by getting out and getting out early.

KING: Kevin Brady, a Houston area Congressman, is faulting some gas shortages. He said we have thousands of people with no fuel or food, no shelters, no cots, no security and when the winds start hitting tonight these people are going to be stuck. Is he right?

PERRY: Well, I don't know what his current time of his analysis is. We had those phone calls early this morning in a big conference call here and our emergency management folks have been responding to that all day, so hopefully the vast majority of those people have reached a secure location and the types of resources that they need are at hand.

KING: When was your most recent contact with President Bush?

PERRY: I think I talked to him this morning and we'll see him again tomorrow afternoon as he comes into Austin. So, I think I talked to him four or five times in the course of the last 48 hours, so we stayed in very close contact as we have with Secretary Chertoff and a number of the military operations that are ongoing in assisting us.

KING: What about your concern about your refineries?

PERRY: Well, obviously that's a great concern, Larry. I mean that's two things. Number one is the environmental impact that could occur with a direct strike and the negative impact on those facilities.

And then there's the impact of the economy. Twenty-five percent of the unleaded gasoline that's manufactured in the United States is right there along the gulf coast, so it could have a very negative impact on the economy.

But these guys are professionals. They know what they're doing. They've faced storms before, maybe not one of this caliber but hopefully this thing will slow up a little bit before it hits land and we'll get a little bit of a break. But, I think we're as prepared as any state in the nation and I want to say how proud we are of the emergency management folks and the local officials in particular along the gulf coast that have responded in such a professional and disciplined manner.

KING: Thank you, Governor Perry, thank you very much.

PERRY: You're welcome.

KING: Hang in there. Governor Rick Perry, the governor of Texas.

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