NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": We indeed are five hours away from the big debate right now.
And I am happy to have with me one of the primary participants. In fact, he's going to be crisscrossing this state, visiting some 44 towns in record fashion, the governor of the fine state of Texas, Rick Perry, joining us.
Governor, very good to have you.
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Neil, it's good to be with you again. Thank you, sir.
CAVUTO: Debates and you, the early going, not a great combination, but you are feeling a little better now, a little looser now? How?
PERRY: Oh, yes. I told them, I said, let's do a bunch more. I will come early.
CAVUTO: You made fun of yourself since the beginning. Are you more comfortable now with it?
PERRY: I am.
Look, when you make mistakes, nobody is perfect, as a matter of fact. We have got a great debater in the White House.
PERRY: That is not working real well for us.
So I'm a doer. As a matter of fact, I have got an ad on here in Iowa that talks about, I'm not a talker, I'm a doer. And it talks about the one million jobs that we have created in the state of Texas and keeping our taxes low and our regulatory climate fair and predictable.
And we the 13th largest economy in the world, if we were a stand-alone entity in Texas. And so it's the reason I have called for a part-time Congress. And people go, oh, well, Congress -- come on, Congress has to be up there all the time.
No, they don't. In our state of Texas, we work for 140 days every other year. We have a balanced budget amendment. Our legislators have real jobs back home. They go and live with their citizens that they represent.
CAVUTO: But how much more part-time could Congress be, Governor? I mean, they had 151 working days last year. I mean, what are they going to be, like Johnny Carson?
PERRY: My deal is, let's cut their pay.
PERRY: And that will keep them out town. Seriously, let them go back and get a job and work in the economy, live under the laws that they live in. And I will suggest to you, along with a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution, those two things would do more to overhaul Washington, D.C., than anything I have heard anyone talking about.
CAVUTO: Now, you have argued that you have got to make your stake in Iowa. And we notice here just since we have arrived, Governor, your ads are everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I think you have more ads than any of the other candidates. Am I right?
PERRY: I may.
I am introducing myself to the people of Iowa. And I want them to be introduced to me as straightforward as I can, with as few filters as I can. And one of the ways is -- obviously is to have those ads up. And so, you bet. Iowa is important.
CAVUTO: Do you have to finish first, second or third?
PERRY: Well, certainly, that is the goal. So...
CAVUTO: So, if you are fourth, what does that mean?
PERRY: You will still see me in New Hampshire and South Carolina and Florida.
PERRY: Yes, sir.
So, but it would be a harder go of it if you were fourth going into New Hampshire.
PERRY: Oh, I think winning Iowa is obviously a help to anyone.
PERRY: You think about Mike Huckabee back in "08, and it vaulted Mike up.
CAVUTO: You're right. You're right.
PERRY: And he ended up not being our nominee.
But the fact is, you want to win here. You don't have to. But I we will do -- I think we will have a good showing here.
CAVUTO: What is it with these polls, Governor, where they change so incredibly, large swings, 10 or 15 points? The latest one has Governor Romney leading. Just pick a candidate, pick a day.
PERRY: Yes, it is pretty fascinating.
But I don't pay a lot of attention to the polls. I try to go out. That 44-city tour that we are in the midst of right now, those are the people, those are the interests that I have.
CAVUTO: Over how many days are you going to do that?
PERRY: I think we go home on the 22nd, and then we get back in on the 27th again, and we stay through the 3rd of January for the caucuses.
CAVUTO: But those who have done, you know, sort of the meet and greet and go through all the counties -- like, Michele Bachmann, that's what she is doing. Rick Santorum, I think he has done it almost twice now.
CAVUTO: And they are not registering in the polls. So, is it a waste of time?
No, not at all. I think people are just now starting to pay attention. Listen, when Rick and Michele -- and I greatly respect them for the amount of time that they have stayed on the ground here in Iowa, but last March, April, May, people were not paying attention to the caucuses.
They are paying attention now. As we are rolling into places, good crowds, exciting crowds, obviously, the national media is following us everywhere we go. So, I happen to think it is a very good use of time. Plus, people of Iowa are no different than New Hampshire or South Carolina. They want to touch you and feel you and sniff on you. And they want to find out about you.
CAVUTO: Yes. Yes. They do, they do, this year more than other years.
I'm wondering, though, Governor, what you think will close the deal or you hope will close the deal for you? You said -- the nation's longest serving governor. You have created a lot jobs in your state. You have a very powerful record in that regard, but somehow it is not getting you over the finish line. Why not?
PERRY: I think they are looking for the outsider. Truly...
CAVUTO: But how can you be an outsider when you're governor of one of the biggest states in the country?
PERRY: An outsider from Washington, D.C., are you kidding?
There isn't anyone on that stage that is more than an outsider to Washington, D.C., than I am. There is congressmen, congresswomen. There's a former speaker. There's a Wall Streeter. I can diagram the problem in this country.
CAVUTO: Right. So you think all of those guys are problems?
PERRY: It's between -- it's a straight line between Washington, D.C...
CAVUTO: But you could support any of them if they got the nomination?
PERRY: Oh, I will, absolutely.
CAVUTO: How about Ron Paul?
PERRY: Anyone that gets our nomination, you can bet hands down better than what we have got in the White House.
This country is in trouble. And any one of the individuals sitting on that stage -- I can criticize each one of them on particular areas. But I'm going to win.
So, I'm going to be supporting our nominee.
CAVUTO: The economy right now, there are a lot of ways of looking at it, as you know, Governor, but the administration -- we have overused this phrase, but the administration saying the trend is our friend, numbers are picking up, not dramatically, but enough if this pace were to maintain itself for another 10 or 11 months, that will be the wind at their back and the president is going to get reelected.
What do you say?
PERRY: Not at all -- $15 trillion worth of debt. What do we got, 13 million-plus people out work, 45 million people on food stamps? That is not a record to run for reelection on. That's a record to run away from.
And I would suggest to you that is what he is doing. He is trying to find a lot of other things to talk about. It's like don't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain over there, all those people out of work. And, frankly, those numbers, those unemployment numbers that are going down, it is because people have just given up. They quit trying.
CAVUTO: In the latest month, 300,000 had taken themselves out of the work force. No, there could be something to do that.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio had backed you. That surprised a lot of people, because he wasn't backing you at your height in popularity, but some people say when you were down in the polls.
CAVUTO: But now there is a concern that the feds are closing in on him, they don't like his tactics in rounding up illegals. So, could that turn against you?
PERRY: Well, I don't know what all the details are, but I do know this, that nothing surprises me out of this administration, this administration that oversaw Fast and Furious.
CAVUTO: So, you think this crackdown on the sheriff is politically motivated?
I would suggest to you that these people are out after Sheriff Joe. He is tough. And, again, when I'm the president of the United States, you are not going to see me going after states like Arizona or Alabama, suing sovereign states for making decisions, particularly because the federal government has been an abject failure at securing the border.
The president had the nerve to go to El Paso this last year and declare that it was the safest -- the border is the safest it has ever been. You got Hezbollah; you got Hamas that are organizing. You have the Iranians working with the Zeta cartels. We have got the largest Iranian Embassy in the world in Venezuela.
You got a Marxist as a president of Bolivia. I think it is time for us to have a Monroe Doctrine for the Western Hemisphere again to protect ourselves against all of these countries that are coming in, trying to use bases of operation, just like we did with Cuba back in the "60s.
CAVUTO: But do you see if you were president, Governor, that there is always the risk always that if 50 governors do what you recommend you do, you have a country with 50 different little heads of states running around?
PERRY: Well, here's the issue.
We have a Constitution. The Constitution clearly enumerates the powers. And we need to get back to that. And you're not going to -- these states will compete against each other, which they should. As a matter of fact, on the jobs side, Texas has been -- being quite competitive. People continue to move to the state of Texas.
Two more California companies announced just this week that they are relocating their headquarters to Texas. That is how it should be. If you are overtaxed, you are over-regulated -- the Illinois legislature just moved to give 10 -- or -- excuse me -- $100 million worth of tax breaks to CME and to Sears Holdings not because they wanted to, but because we were up there knocking on the door saying, hey, you all come on down to Texas and we will not overtax you and over-regulate you.
CAVUTO: You were bidding them, yes. Yes, they have your picture at like the post office there. They don't like you when you do...
PERRY: But that is the way it ought to be.
PERRY: Let these states compete against each other.
CAVUTO: All right, well, Governor, look forward to chatting with you tonight. Good luck tonight.
PERRY: Thank you.
CAVUTO: Thank you very much.
PERRY: Good to do this with you.
CAVUTO: Governor Rick Perry of the fine state of Texas here.