CNN "The Situation Room" - Transcript: Ted Nugent and Chris Christie

Interview

By:  Rick Perry
Date: Feb. 20, 2014
Location: Unknown

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BLITZER: And joining us now is the Republican governor of Texas, the former Republican presidential candidate, Rick Perry. Welcome to Washington, governor.

GOV. RICK PERRY, (R) TEXAS: Wolf, it's good to be with you.

BLITZER: So, what do you think about this huge uproar that has developed? These words that Nugent said are -- you have to admit, they are vile, right?

PERRY: They're pretty tough words.

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: I wouldn't have used those words.

BLITZER: I know you wouldn't, but these are -- to call the president of the United States a subhuman mongrel, that is disgusting.

PERRY: That's pretty tough words.

BLITZER: That's disgusting. You can say it's disgusting.

PERRY: We agree that that is not appropriate language to use for the president of the United States.

BLITZER: So, the man who wants to succeed you, Greg Abbott, he went out there after these words were uttered and he embraced them. They were out there campaigning together. Is that appropriate?

PERRY: Yes. Listen, I'm not going to get into this side of whether it's inappropriate or not. There are people who say things all the time. I mean, the idea that ted Nugent has said something that's outrageous shouldn't surprise anybody. He's been saying outrageous things --

BLITZER: But not like this.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: This is beyond the pale.

PERRY: Listen, he shouldn't have said that about the president of the United States. We need to be focusing on the things that people really care about, though. And I will suggest to you that the job situation in Texas and what a Republican leadership has done there and Greg Abbott will continue to do is what people really care about.

A comment by someone who has come in and endorsed him in the campaign, I will suggest to you is not what this campaign is going to hinge upon. It's going to be on Wendy Davis' very liberal record that is out of line, out --

BLITZER: But politically speaking --

PERRY: -- people of the state of Texas.

BLITZER: -- if he goes out there and campaigns throughout this -- the months leading up to the election with Ted Nugent, that would be idiotic, from Greg Abbott's point of view.

PERRY: He had one event there. And I think -- I'll be real honest with you, I think that this will be a news story or two and then we will get back to be in focused on what the people in the state of Texas really care about and that is, how are you going to make sure that my children have a good future, that I have a job, that we continue to have the energy industry that's creating a lot of jobs. That's what Greg Abbott is all about and that's what he's going to be --

BLITZER: You campaigned with Ted Nugent when you were running for elected office?

PERRY: I did.

BLITZER: But he hadn't said ridiculous seeing (ph) things like this then?

PERRY: Ted has said some pretty outrageous things.

BLITZER: So, you don't have a problem with that?

PERRY: I got a problem calling the president a mongrel --

BLITZER: Subhuman mongrel.

PERRY: Yes. I do have a problem with that. That is an inappropriate thing to say. And, you know -- but again, people were saying that all the time.

BLITZER: If you were to run for president --

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: Let me ask you something, Wolf. You think Bill Meyer has ever said --

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: And did we see your program focusing in on that?

BLITZER: Yes, we did.

PERRY: Good for you.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: When Democrats say sick, obnoxious things, we report that as well. We're not shy about that. Let me ask, Sarah Palin, she, yesterday wrote, "check the box for another good conservative Greg Abbott for governor of Texas. If he's good enough for Ted Nugent, he is good enough for me." That's Sarah Palin.

PERRY: That's Sarah's sentiment (ph). That doesn't surprise me. That's Sarah's sentiment. Again, I think the people of the state of Texas -- you've got to remember, this is an election for the governorship of the state of the Texas. It's not a national election.

BLITZER: That's a pretty important job, being governor of Texas.

PERRY: It is, indeed.

BLITZER: That's a lot of responsibility. And you set an example to everyone in Texas, indeed, around the nation. When you're governor, who appears with you after these kinds of comments? Unless, you know, Nugent were to formally apologize.

PERRY: And he may do that.

BLITZER: If he were to do that --

PERRY: he may do that.

BLITZER: -- and then people make mistakes, if he were to say, you know, these words were awful, I condemn them. I shouldn't have said them. I would like to hear him say that.

PERRY: I will put that responsibility on him to address that.

BLITZER: So, let me just -- I want to move on. But unless he does that, would you be willing to appear on the campaign trail with him if you were ever again to run for any elected office?

PERRY: You know, again, Ted and I have been on the stage together. He is a proud and a strong defender of the constitution of the United States. We've all said things that we would like to reel back in. I suggest to you this is probably one of those for him. And he does that and I don't know, is that all things forgiven after he said that with you?

BLITZER: If he were to formally apologize and say what I just said, I think that would go a long way in maybe perhaps rehabilitating him.

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: I'll -- I'll recommend that he do that then.

BLITZER: He was a good rocker in his day.

PERRY: Still is.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: But he's -- he's gone way over the top on this. It just gets me a little agitated, as you can tell.

Let's talk about Governor Christie. What do you think? He came to Texas, he's chairman of the Republican Governors Association. You're the sitting governor of Texas. You didn't show up when he was there, why?

PERRY: When I go to New Jersey he didn't show up where I am.

BLITZER: So this is tit for tat?

PERRY: No, it's not tit for tat. It's like we have our own schedules and our own lives. And he came in to raise money for the RGA which I'm supportive of and we made our calls and what have you and we'll continue to. So I think there's way too much being made about, you didn't show up to an event he showed up with, and somehow you don't like each other? We're on the same team.

We have a goal of electing Republican governors. And the reason that's important for America is when you look at where the job creation has been created in this country, it is in those red states that are governed by Republican governors and Republican legislatures by and large. So we're on the same team, we're working together.

But let me tell you something, he's a competitor.

BLITZER: Yes. Of yours?

PERRY: And I'm going to -- I'm going to go and compete against him. I'm going to go against -- and compete against Rick Scott, I'm going to compete against Bobby Jindal, I'm going to compete against Nikki Haley.

I'm going to compete against Jerry Brown and Pat Quinn and those guys are a little easier to compete against because of the policies they put into place. So --

BLITZER: When you say a competitor, what does that -- I mean --

PERRY: Well, competitors --

BLITZER: For jobs, you mean?

PERRY: I'm a big believer in the 10th Amendment that the states are the laboratories of innovation that we ought to be working to promote tax policies --

BLITZER: But when I heard you say that Governor Christie is a competitor, I thought maybe for the Republican presidential nomination you were talking about that?

PERRY: Those that focus past 2014 are making a huge mistake. 2014 is where we need to focus. Lots of governors races, the United States Senate. I'm not looking past 2014. After November 6th, we can look into 2016.

BLITZER: Because you ran the last time. A lot of people think you're -- you know, you're not going to run again. You can't run again for governor.

PERRY: I can.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: But you're not. But you decided not to.

PERRY: Not to.

BLITZER: So do you think you want to be president of the United States?

PERRY: I'll make that decision in about 18 months. We'll get the governorship of Texas over with. We're going to go out there and talk about red states versus blue states, which of these policies are working, why decentralization of government out of Washington, D.C., is the future of this country. That's what I'm going to be spending my time on.

BLITZER: Tell us if you were, that's the one -- a hypothetical, if you were to run for president of the United States and get the Republican presidential nomination, could you beat Hillary Clinton?

PERRY: I have no idea. That is so hypothetical. But here's what we do need to talk about in this country. How are we going to create jobs. Growth is how America is going to go forward. We have to have growth to create the wealth so that we have a military that can be ready to stand up to what is going on in the world.

We need to be sending a message to our foreign partners who have historically been our partners.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: A couple of economic questions for you while I have you.

PERRY: That we are truly going to be there for them.

BLITZER: Should we raise the nation's minimum wage?

PERRY: No. Not at all. I think that is a job killer. And at a time when jobs are the real issue, the idea that government should be forcing small businessmen and women -- because what's going to happen, we know. There are going to be jobs that are lost. We ought to be --

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: But it would raise -- the CBO says 900,000 families would have --

PERRY: But that's not the issue.

BLITZER: Would be out of poverty.

PERRY: Are you willing to go tell people, say, hey, listen, we're going to allow these folks to move up a little and you're going to lose your job? I'm not.

BLITZER: What about extending unemployment benefits for long- term unemployed?

PERRY: No, I think -- I think --

BLITZER: Do you support that?

PERRY: No, sir. I think you have to -- we have to -- we have to get the spending under control in this country. That's the real issue. You know, that's what, you know, Ted Cruz -- although, you know, sometimes we don't always agree on tactics, his position on being a quarian voice about getting spending under control and we have to make hard decisions. We did that in the state of Texas. Governors have to do that.

And I think if you don't have people who are willing to stand up and say, you know what, we're going to make some hard decisions and we've got to get the spending under control.

BLITZER: What do you like about Obamacare?

PERRY: I think the idea of being able to have a move between states makes sense. We've been trying to do that for a long time. But the issue in, you know, finding one or two things about Obamacare that I like, it's that this thing is going to fail of its own weight, the idea that they are so missing the projections of how many people it's going to take to make it work.

Obamacare is going to fail. The president would be substantially farther ahead if he would just stand up and say, you know what, this is not working out like we thought it was going to. We are willing to go sit down with Congress and to find a solution and I'll suggest to you one of those solutions is this. You go back to the states and you say, governors, legislators, you best know how to deliver health care in your states. Here's a block grant --

BLITZER: I'll tell --

PERRY: -- for your states and then you're the ones that --

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Here's one thing I suspect you do like, that if you do have a pre-existing condition you can still qualify for health insurance.

PERRY: Sure --

BLITZER: You like that part?

PERRY: That is an acceptable part of this. But the issue is, you can't pick and choose which one of these you like because they are forcing us to accept the entire premise of Obamacare. It is going to fail. The president knows it's going to fail. The Democrats know it's going to fail. And if he truly cares about a legacy, he would stand up and say, I've got 2 1/2 years left as the president of the United States. Let's work together to fix this so it truly can be something that will work. And I will suggest to you the way you fix it is to do away with it and allow the states to -- we were never asked. Governors were never asked to be a part of this and you cannot deliver health care or education policy or, for that matter, infrastructure policy in one size that fits all. California and Connecticut are different than Oklahoma.

BLITZER: Governor, I suspect that you and I will be seeing each other in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina.

PERRY: More than willing.

BLITZER: A whole bunch of good places.

PERRY: We will, indeed. Good to see you.

BLITZER: Thanks so much for coming in.

PERRY: Awesome.

BLITZER: You got a great state.

PERRY: Thank you, sir. We do indeed.

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