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GOV. RICK PERRY, R - TX: From what I have been reading about the sequestration. I figured President Obama had probably shut the place down and sent everybody home. Actually, that wouldn't be the -- actually, that would probably be the first good idea he has had, when you think about it.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, he is back, Texas Governor Rick Perry taking on the president over the impact of those spending cuts just off the national stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he joins right now.
Governor, good to have you.
PERRY: Good to be with you, Neil. Thank you, sir.
CAVUTO: They were enjoying you, loving you, whooping and hollering for you. But you're right about sequestration. Some of the feared Armageddon never materialized.
But we're told it's just a matter of time. What do you think of that?
PERRY: Well, this president is all about political spin.
And it's hurting people. And when you look at the number of criminal aliens that have been turned out on the streets, we found out today that some 2,200-plus those individuals were released back out into the general population in our country, 760-plus of them in my home state. And we can't get an answer from the federal government about who these people are, where they were released from, what were their crimes.
That is a great concern. This is past political theater now. This is where citizens of this country's lives are being put in jeopardy. When you compound that with what has happened with the military and the huge cuts that we have seen in our military, this president is truly playing with fire.
CAVUTO: But you're not saying that we shouldn't be open to cuts in the military, right?
PERRY: Oh, not at all.
CAVUTO: All right, so you would be open to that.
Now, when I had Senator Cochran here talking about sort of a grand bargain on the part of Democrats and Republicans, he listed $360 billion worth of defense cuts over the next 10 years. Do you think there's room for that and that Republicans have to put that, their most holiest of Grails, on the table to get Democrats to put some entitlements on the table, and if we don't do that or you don't see that, progress on this thing is never going to happen?
PERRY: Yeah, well, here's what I think is important to understand. Already, the military, 50 percent of the cuts that have occurred with the sequestration and with the other budget cuts, 50 percent of those cuts have come from the military, which makes up 18 percent of that entire budget. So, the military has already faced substantial cuts.
CAVUTO: Yes, but Republicans agreed to that, Governor. Republicans agreed to that. It might have been a foolish choice, but they agreed to it.
PERRY: But here's my point. But here's my point.
Start looking into other areas in government to be cutting before you go -- when other areas of government have raised to the level that the military has cut, then we will some talk more about if there's more that needs to be done, but no more, from my perspective.
CAVUTO: So if Republicans were to entertain another sequestration deal, or a backup backbone on spending deal, this would not be it?
PERRY: Go into the entitlements.
PERRY: We haven't talked about entitlements at all during this. This is the place to be looking, but not in our military.
We have got young men and women whose lives are being put at jeopardy now because of politics that's been played in Washington, D.C. That's unacceptable.
CAVUTO: All right. So, when you talk about entitlements, you would be open to raising the retirement age, one of the things that Paul Ryan has broached and others? You would be open to that?
And, as a matter of fact, I think we ought to look at federal employees, military, maybe moving that to 25 years, rather than 20, going from 65 to 67 for our entitlement age that you're ready to get those types of benefits. Those are commonsense approaches...
PERRY: ... to be able to put this budget in the shape that it needs to be in, in the out-years.
CAVUTO: Governor Perry, good seeing you again. Thank you very much.
PERRY: Neil, it's always good to be with you. Thank you. Godspeed.
CAVUTO: All right.