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Fox News "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace" - Transcript

Interview

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GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hi, Chris. Happy New Year.

WALLACE: Thank you. Same to you.

The Des Moines Register poll, we got to keep talking about it, has you at 11 percent, basically tied with Gingrich for fourth place. How do you think you're going to do Tuesday night?

PERRY: Momentum is headed in the right direction as we've traveled across Iowa with the course of the last 30 days or so. And I think 44 cities we're hitting in a 10-day bus tour. We're seeing great crowds -- again, people who are excited about an outsider coming in to Washington D.C.

As we look at all the candidates, you are either Washington insiders or Wall Street insiders, that's your choices. And we tell them you got a choice. You got a choice of a governing executive who for 11 years operated the 13th largest economy in the world and created more jobs than any other state in the nation and America lost 2 million, we were creating a million.

So, they are very interested in having an experienced executive in the White House that is not only got foreign policy background but also has the social and fiscal conservative message.

WALLACE: But, as I say, you campaigned hard here, you have spent almost $3 million on TV ads. You have more than any other candidate, more than any other super PAC and yet as I say, you are in fourth or fifth place. Why don't you have more to show for your efforts?

PERRY: I think we got a good bit to show. As you know, we got in the race late obviously in August and some of these folks have been running for years in Iowa and multiple times in Iowa. So, I think for us to come in and over the course of the last five months to have the ground game. Nobody has got the better ground game, nobody's got the ability to go past Iowa on into these other states with a fundraising, with national fundraising ability with the message that we have as an executive who is running a major state. I think that is a powerful message.

We are going to be able to go forward when some of these other candidates. They may do OK in Iowa, but when it comes to running a national campaign, they're going to falter.

WALLACE: Reporters here in Iowa are buzzing over the story on the "Politico" Web site this weekend in which your new campaign staff hammers the group you came in with. I don't know if you have had a chance to read this, but let me put some of it up on the screen.

"There has never been a more ineptly orchestrated, just unbelievably subpar campaign for president of the United States than this one." That's what one of your senior aides said.

It sounds like they are laying the ground work to explain your defeat, sir.

PERRY: Yes. I haven't read it, but that's inside of the Beltway chatter that happens on a fairly regular basis. I'm focused on campaigning in Iowa. So, I'll let the pundits have their fun and run the story.

WALLACE: That was a quote from your campaign.

PERRY: Well, but did it quote an individual or was it --

WALLACE: A senior aide.

PERRY: A senior aide. Again, name names and then we'll have a conversation. But this concept of this pitching out a story and expecting people to believe it and get any attraction I think is kind of a waste of time.

WALLACE: But is there some truth in it? Did you and did your staff get into this race back in August -- you say you got in late -- without sufficient planning? Without sufficient thought about what it would take to run for president? Quite frankly, without sufficient preparations for debates?

PERRY: No, not at all. I think we had bumps and grinds, but most campaigns have bumps and grinds. But the issue, the campaign is smooth and Iowa is a great ground game for us and I feel very comfortable that we are going to do good on Tuesday. Wednesday morning, we'll find out whether or not who was right.

WALLACE: We will indeed.

As I discussed with Congresswoman Bachmann, you and she and Rick Santorum are all going for the same base of socially conservative voters. I'm going to ask the same question I asked her: why should those voters caucus for you Tuesday night and not for Rick Santorum who at least according to the polls is making a big late move?

PERRY: Right. I'm not just focused on that set of voters. We are reaching out to everyone who wants to see America back working again. And I got a track record of doing it. A lot of folks who are running here, we got 63 years of collective United States Congress time and a Wall Street insider.

And we basically are saying, listen, you got a choice, and it's not just the evangelical vote which obviously I have got as good of pro-life message as anybody. And I don't just talk about it. I signed bills -- parental notification, parental consent, we require a sonogram before a woman can get an abortion and I defunded Planned Parenthood this last session of the legislature, and 12 abortion clinics are closed now in our state because of the signing of that.

That's not talking about what you're going to do. That is a track record of getting things done.

WALLACE: So, is that your pitch against Santorum. You talk. I mean, he talks and you do?

PERRY: Well, there is a lot of differences between myself and Rick Santorum. As Michele talked about, he's got a spending problem. He's got an earmark problem.

I mean, why he voted eight times to raise the debt ceiling while he was in the United States Senate. I'm going to let him explain to people, why did you vote to raise the debt ceiling, and why was it important for you to vote for the bridge to nowhere? Why was it important to vote for a Montana Sheep Institute?

I mean, those are questions that people in Iowa are going to look at and go, wait a minute, you are telling us you are a fiscal conservative? People are scratching their head when they hear him say that and then look at his record.

WALLACE: But Senator Santorum, because you've been making those charges this week, accuses you of, quote, "hypocrisy." He notes that you have a paid lobbyist for the state of Texas in Washington to try to get earmarks. And he notes that back in 2006, that your state government bragged about getting more than $600 million in highway earmarks and $500 million in transit projects.

So, again, aren't your hands unclean here, too?

PERRY: That is the process that they put in place in Washington, D.C. And I will tell you that the reason that states have to go up there and play that game is because Washington is broken. We've got a $15 trillion debt because both political parties have been involved in the obvious "let me scratch your back, and you scratch my back" on the earmarks. And all they are doing is fleecing Americans.

WALLACE: Finally, we have less than a minute left. Let's be honest. One of your problems from your rise in August until now were the performance to the debates. What do you say to the voter out there who says, gee, I like him, I like what he stands for, but, boy, I can't get past oops?

PERRY: I'd tell them to take a look at the debates that we've had in the last three contests in Sioux City and what have you. And I think our debate performance has been not only excellent but I look forward to debating Barack Obama. As I said in the debate, I'll come early. I'm ready to debate. I want to talk about this president and his absolute failure economically, foreign policy-wise, and we will take it to Barack Obama.

WALLACE: Governor Perry, we want to thank.

We want to thank all of you candidates for making time with us. Happy New Year to all of you. Thanks so much.

PERRY: Thank you.

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