SEAN HANNITY, HOST: We are two months away from the Iowa caucuses and as the Republican field continues to jockey for position, Herman Cain is still at the top of the pack.
Now in the latest survey from Quinnipiac University, he received 30 percent of the vote to Mitt Romney's 23 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in third with 10 percent and Texas Governor Rick Perry received eight percent.
But Governor Perry remains as determined as ever and has in his possession, an impressive war chest to help him in his fight to win the Republican nomination. Now yesterday, I traveled to Iowa to sit down with the governor to talk about how he plans to put Americans back to work and much, much more.
Let's take a look.
HANNITY: Governor Perry, good to see you.
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Sean.
HANNITY: How are you doing out here?
PERRY: Welcome to Corn Country.
HANNITY: We have got a lot of corn over here. Well, it's good to see you again. It's been awhile since I have been out on the road. I haven't been out on the road as a matter of fact with you yet.
All right. Your campaign starts out gangbusters, Rick Perry's in the race, a lot of excitement. You petered out a little bit. And how you seem to be turning a corner. What happened in that first 100 days?
PERRY: Well, I think the first 100 days is just a sprint to raise money. I mean, that's what we were doing. We were spending a lot of time raising money because we knew we had to. We had I think four debates during that period of time. Frankly, I didn't have time to prepare for those debates, obviously, it showed. And you know, I hate debates. I hate debates worse than I did spinning when I was a pilot in the United States Air Force. But you know, what? I practiced enough that I got pretty good at it. So, there will be plenty of debates.
But here's what people are interested in. We have a great debater in the White House, a slick politician. And our country is really paying a great price for that. Americans are looking for somebody who is consistent. They are looking for somebody who's honest. They're looking for somebody who is honest. They're looking for somebody that's tough as nails. Somebody that will take a wrecking ball to Washington, D.C. and say, you know what? That's all over with. We are fixing to cut spending. Here's a plan to deal with the taxes, which we do with our 20 percent flat tax. That's what Americans are looking for and they're going to hear a lot of it over the next 60 days.
HANNITY: Your latest ad is "I'm a doer, not a talker." All right. So, you are conceding to people that the debate performances were not up to your par, up to your speed. But you also said, you keep doing more, you are going to get better at them. Is it important that whoever wins the nomination is able to stand on a stage with 50, 60, 80, 100 million Americans watching and go toe to toe with Obama and beat him on substance?
PERRY: Yes. I look forward to being on the stage with Obama. I will promise you. I will love to be on the stage with Barack Obama, talking about how in the world did you lose two-and-a-half million jobs? How did you waste $4 trillion, Mr. President? I know how to create jobs. I know how to pull back the regulations that are strangling our small businessmen and women, have a tax structure that allows them to keep more of what have they worked hard for. We know how to put policy into place at a foreign area where it makes a difference for our allies. They're going to know every day whether it's Israel, Taiwan, South Korea. America is going to be there with us. They don't know this with this president. This is a president who gives a great presentation. He is slick as he can be, a great debater, but the fact is, he has been an absolute disaster as a president of the United States.
HANNITY: Let's go through some of the issues. What surprised me in the debates was, you took a pretty controversial position on immigration when you were governor about -- and you had most of the legislature, as you pointed out, supporting you. And that is in-state tuition prices for illegal immigrants. Do you regret that position at all? The conservative base doesn't like that position. In other words, the votes that you are looking for. What do you say to them because your record's pretty solid conservative, that's not exactly a conservative position in the minds of a lot of people?
PERRY: Well, let me just put it this way. The federal government's complete and absolute failure to secure our border put a lot of pressure on governors no matter where they might be to have to deal with issues. You are required to give health care, you are required to give education. And Texans made a decision -- are we going to kick these people to the side of the road and they are going to become tax wasters? Or are we going to require that they become citizens of the United States and become taxpayers? We chose the latter. I would still do that today, considering the barriers that if you will, the arena that we have to work in.
As the president of the United States, I am against the DREAM Act. I will shut that border down because I have had to deal with it for 10 years. I understand. I am putting Texas Rangers and National Guard, I am putting Texas citizens on the line over there, they are being fired at. Thank God none of them have been killed yet. But the fact is, I know how to secure that border. When I am the president, that border will be secure. And these issues that we have been forced to deal with as governors, will start being alleviated. And then we can have a decent, a thoughtful and economically focused conversation about immigration policy.
HANNITY: So you think you could secure the border in what period of time if you're president?
PERRY: I think you can do it within a year. I mean, seriously, within a year --
HANNITY: That means nobody can come across the border?
PERRY: Unless you want them to. You know, if there is a point in time where we need to have that conversation, what is the type of immigration policy we needed to have? What kind of people do we want coming across? And we will know who they are. But I feel very comfortable that you put those assets on the border. You know, the only bottleneck I see with being able to do that in the year is training up enough of those predator drone pilots. We got these other conflicts going on around the world, but we quickly can shut that border down, bad guys will know it in a hurry.
HANNITY: All right. But you don't need a fence, in your view?
PERRY: Oh, I think there are places that strategic fencing --
HANNITY: But not across the whole border.
PERRY: I think the idea of saying, listen, I am going to build a double fence, we're going to put alligators between it, and we're going to put lava in there as well. I mean, you know, one tries to out-do the other one. That's 2,000 miles. The idea of building a 2,000-mile fence costs huge amounts of money and takes very long periods of time, but strategic fencing in these high-traveled areas where we know they are absolutely using it in there. And then you augment that with the most powerful piece of your strategy and that is the boots on the ground driven by those aviation assets, given real time information. Those three together make that border secure.
HANNITY: All right. Let's go to your economic plan. You gave two big speeches recently, one was on energy, the other was on your flat tax plan. Why don't you explain both of them? And on the flat tax, you are offering an option. I want you to explain that to people.
PERRY: Well, it makes sense to me that we need to have a flatter and a fairer tax system. I mean, the idea that we spend almost a half a trillion dollars filling out, buying accountants' times and lawyers' times to deal with our taxes? That's nuts.
PERRY: Why not have a flat 20 percent tax rate that clearly has the deductions for home mortgages, has the deductions for charitable, has the deductions for your local sales taxes and what have you and a $12,500 independent deduction for each independent in your house. You take those deductions from what your pay is, 20 percent of it, put it on that post card and send it to the IRS.
That will -- that will basically change the IRS as we know it today. You want to bring back manufacturing to America. Put a flat tax in corporately and personally. Pull back these regulations and check them for whether the cost versus the benefit and most of them are going to be thrown away because there is no benefit of any note. But there is just a lot of cost, compliance costs. That's how you get America back, creating jobs and creating wealth. It allows us to balance the budget by 2020 and create plenty of money to pay for all the government that Americans want. Eighteen percent of our gross domestic product will be the cap. You do that, America becomes a power house economically.
HANNITY: Is it revenue neutral? Do you increase revenues when you change the system? What are your economists telling you about?
PERRY: Well, over the eight-year period of time to get to 2020, you are going to balance the budget. That's what I care about. What I care about most is creating jobs. This will give the confidence to job creators. And are there going to be some hard decisions? You better believe it. But let me tell you something, you look at my record in Texas. The establishment doesn't like me. The corporate tax lawyers in Washington, D.C., they hate me the way, you know, the devil hates holy water. I mean, they do not want to see me coming to Washington, D.C. because I'm going to take a wrecking ball to Washington when it comes to those tax issues, when it comes to those regulations. And Americans are going to be the winners.