Perry Tests 2016 Waters: Addresses Charges, Keystone Pipeline, Border Security

Nov 10, 2014

Rick Perry at The Draft in Concord for an NHFRW event 11/9/2014
Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s itinerary  -- meetings with core Republican activists, stops at colleges, and a speech at an event celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps – was very much that of a candidate. 

In his remarks at the Marine event, Perry cited Russia, Iran, and ISIS, as reasons why the U.S. cannot afford a foreign policy, that is, as he put it, “lacking in clarity.” 

“If peace is what we seek, the answer is not to withdraw from threats abroad. We won the cold war because of a relentless policy of engagement, and an unwavering show of resolve. We wore down the enemy.”

When Perry ended his speech, a man in the crowd started chanting Rick Perry for president. Perry is the first politician eyeing a 2016 run to visit N.H. since last week’s midterm elections. In his 2012, Rick Perry finished 6th in the N.H. primary before ending his campaign in South Carolina.      

Perry Addresses Issues, Controversy at Keene State

Update filed by NHPR contributor Melanie Plenda:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry at Keene State College 11/10/2014
Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

At an event at Keene State College Monday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry spoke about polices he says have made his state prosper.

When it came border issues, Perry said what's needed to secure the border is not a fence, but manpower. Perry also said the government needs to send drones to hover over the border, all day, every day.

But all of that may not even be necessary, Perry argued, if the Keystone Pipeline were allowed. Perry said the pipeline would create better jobs for Mexicans in Mexico and thus stem the tide of immigrants looking for work in America.

"If that energy policy goes forward and you see Mexico become substantially more engaged in exploration and development in their natural resources, you're going to see a rather substantive migration back to Mexico," Perry said. "So this whole immigration debate could be turned on its head sooner rather than later because of the economic influences that are going on in that country."

When asked by a member of the audience whether he thought the pipeline was environmentally safe, Perry said, "Those tar sands are being moved anyway and they are being moved by rail. My understanding of this pipeline is that it would be the safest pipeline ever built. And my understanding and my feeling is that if we're going to transport it-- and we're going to-- that using rail is a substantially more dangerous way to be moving that particular product than by pipe."

As for taxes, Perry said corporate tax rates need to be reformed if the students in the audience ever hoped to find employment after they graduated.

"Why are we putting tax policy in place in this country that's a disincentive to job creation?" he said. "We've got close to 100 million people out of work in this country. If we got those individuals a decent job and paying taxes, then that's the way to pay the deficit down."

Rick Perry answers audience questions at Keene State College
Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Perry was also asked how the felony charges he faces in Texas would affect his running for president. The charges stem from a claim that he cut off $7.5 million in funding to the Public Integrity Unit in Travis County Texas after District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who ran the unit, pleaded guilty to drunken driving charges in order to force her to resign.

"I saw an individual who was obviously inebriated to three times the legal limit who was in charge of the public integrity unit," Perry said.

"Seven and a half million dollars was going to go to that office, I lost confidence that that person should have control of that money, I told them that and vetoed and if I was presented with the same evidence and the same decision tomorrow, I would do it again."