NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Well, if only everything was on fire like Facebook -- new evidence today that Americans are just spent, major retailers posting their worst sales since 2009, Macy's, Costco, and Target.
And you know what? They all were missing their sales targets last month as worker productivity posts its biggest drop in a year.
All of this not good ahead of tomorrow's crucial jobs report.
My next guest knows what it takes to create jobs. His state has created more than 1.2 million of them since he took office more than a decade ago.
Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry joining me right now exclusively in this nationally televised interview.
Governor, good to have you back. Welcome.
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: How are you, Neil? Good to be with you, sir.
CAVUTO: You must be feeling pretty good about that, not quite as good if you were a Facebook key player, but, nevertheless, not too shabby.
PERRY: You know, I think the first place that Facebook located outside of California was to Austin, Texas.
CAVUTO: Is that right? Is that right?
PERRY: So we've been helping Mark expand his company.
CAVUTO: Did he give you any shares for that?
PERRY: No, sir.
PERRY: But he gave us plenty of opportunities to hire people in Austin, Texas. So that's our M.O.
CAVUTO: Well, you know, it's interesting, Governor. One of the keys to expanding, as Carl's Jr., the big burger folks, did so in your state and others, because they felt that there was a very favorable tax environment, a very pro-business environment.
And Facebook, obviously, might have been seizing on that as well. But the argument is that, nationally, the environment for companies is not that way, and that a lot of them have all this cash overseas and they're not bringing it back. What do you make of that?
PERRY: Well, certainly, I think the tax structure in the United States, corporate tax structure in particular, one of the things that we've talked about during the presidential election was how do you lure these companies back into the United States.
And, listen, taxes and regulation are really what drive the corporate decision-making, or, for that matter, a small business man and woman who's trying to decide whether or not they are going to expand their business. It's about taxes. It's about regulation and in some cases about the legal structure as well.
And one of the reasons that Texas is the best place in the country to do business, according to CEO Magazine as late as day before yesterday, is they ranked the states again for 2011, is taxes and regulation. Quality -- quality of your work force is obviously part of that as well.
But they have -- I think 650 of their corporate leaders across the country were asked to measure the states with this matrix of taxes and regulation, legal system, quality of life, the quality of the work force, and Texas came in number one. Florida was number two. Rick Scott's doing a great job of competing.
Looking at that list, Louisiana moved up 14 places. Bobby Jindal understands keeping taxes and regulations as thoughtful and as low as you can from the standpoint of taxes and regulations that are fair and predictable. It's not rocket science, Neil. It's having the confidence that the private sector actually knows how to run their own businesses and that they don't need big government telling them how to run their business, and allow them the freedom to do that.
That's -- nine out of those 10 top states were...
CAVUTO: Well, that's been Mitt Romney's message, as you know, Governor that he has the business and the private sector experience preceding just his days as governor of Massachusetts.
Now, you criticized his -- his record in Massachusetts as governor. Are you more comfortable with him now? Do you support him now? How do you feel?
PERRY: Oh, absolutely. I've endorsed him.
I'm a heck of a lot more comfortable with him than I am with Barack Obama. And that's going to be our choice.
CAVUTO: But you were for Newt Gingrich. And, obviously, Newt Gingrich pulling out yesterday, and he did mention you and thanked you for your support.
What do you think happened there?
PERRY: Oh, I think -- I'll leave that up to the political pundits.
The reason we have contests is to pick a winner. And we've done that. Mitt Romney will be our nominee. He will be 10 times better than Barack Obama, particularly when it comes to the economy. And, as in -- they said in 1992, it's the economy, stupid. It's still about the economy.
And Newt Gingrich, any of our candidates, but particularly Mitt -- he's going to be our nominee. We're going to be behind him. And God help us if he doesn't win.
CAVUTO: All right. But as you have heard, Governor, and as Newt Gingrich himself has brought up in the past, and other conservative candidates, Rick Santorum among them, that there's just not the fire for Mitt Romney that there was for some of the more conservative candidates in the race, and that that's going to be hard to win them back over.
What do you think of that?
PERRY: I suggest to you we better get a fire going.
Four more years of Barack Obama, when you look at these -- debt that is on the future generations, when you look at what he's talking about doing from the standpoint of coming in and telling states how to run their business, this isn't even in the ballpark of close.
Mitt Romney has to win this presidential election in November of 2012, or our country truly is going to be on the precipice of bankruptcy and international affairs that I will suggest to you none of us are going to like.
CAVUTO: All right. So you do not think there will be any conservatives dragging their feet or doing as they did in 1976, not voting for Jimmy Carter after their candidate, Ronald Reagan, narrowly lost the nomination to Gerald Ford, but just not voting at all?
You think they'll still vote, still come out...
PERRY: I never thought -- I never thought there would be anybody that would make Jimmy Carter look good. Barack Obama is doing it.
CAVUTO: All right.
On Barack Obama and on this economy, the White House has been arguing things are looking better. Some of these slowing economic numbers notwithstanding, the trend is their friend.
You disagree. You see things reversing here? What?
PERRY: Well, I don't know whether they will reverse or not.
We just found ourselves in such a deep hole that quit digging. That's the first thing you do when that occurs and start putting policies into place. If this president cares about this country, he'll work on the tax structure. He'll quit spending money that we don't have.
Look, this is a spending problem that we have got in Washington, D.C. And the idea that you can continue to spend and spend and it's not going to have an impact -- Tom Coburn had some very startling remarks just yesterday, when he talked about the precipice that this country's on.
I agree with him. I think we have to make changes, and we have to make changes in a hurry. And Mitt Romney understands that. Barack Obama has clearly showed us what direction he wants to take America, both economically and internationally. And I'm not sure that the bulk of the Americans really want that when we look at the out-years.
CAVUTO: If we, God forbid, are looking at another meltdown in the fall, Governor, or even sooner -- some have said that a lot of these banks are still in precarious positions. Certainly, the world doesn't look much better at this moment.
Would you advise Governor Romney, as the likely Republican nominee, to advocate not helping banks, not bailing out any banks? He was for those bailouts. You were critical of that during the nominating process. Would you still feel the same way?
PERRY: I think Mitt today understands that too big to fail -- and I have heard him say that on numerous occasions -- is not appropriate, and that the economic models of supply and demand, they work. The simplicity of that is truly important for to us get back to.
And bailing out, whether it's Wall Street or whether it's motor companies, is bad public policy. We have bankruptcy laws in place to sort through those types of bad decision-makings and people that have -- maybe by no fault of their own, but they went bankrupt. And you restructure and go through it.
CAVUTO: I apologize, sir.
But you do you think that this is what is helping the president, these bailouts; say what you will of them? In key swing states, where they've been the big beneficiaries, the numbers are swinging the president's way.
Karl Rove, in fact, has the president at a distinct electoral vote advantage because of that, not exclusively because of that. But what do you make of that? Do you think Karl's electoral math is right? The president has a clear edge?
PERRY: I have no idea whether his map's right. And I don't think anyone else has an idea whether that's right or not.
The issue is we've got to do what is right for the long-term country's benefit. And bailing out corporate entities that are -- quote -- "too big to fail," bailing out car companies are not in this country's best interests.
I'll guarantee you, had GM gone through the type of restructuring, people would have still had their jobs, they would still had their pensions, and the company would have been more stable. And I will suggest to you, Michigan's economy would be in better shape...
CAVUTO: All right.
PERRY: ... both short-term and long-term, with that type of thoughtful approach, rather than government coming in, putting untold amounts of money into it, a few people making out like bandits on Wall Street, but the American people really taking a bath.
CAVUTO: Governor Perry, good seeing you again. Thank you very much.
PERRY: Neil, it's good to see you. God bless you.
CAVUTO: Same here, Governor Perry.