Washington (CNN) – Former President George W. Bush isn't the only Texas politician promoting a new book – so is his onetime lieutenant governor and successor, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, fresh off winning a historic third term in Austin.
Perry's new book, "Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington," is a 191-page polemic against what he calls "a Washington establishment that has abused our trust."
Perry framed his re-election campaign in Texas as an aggressive fight against an over-reaching Washington, but it's not just the Obama administration bearing the brunt of his ire.
Republicans during the Bush administration were also at fault for ballooning the deficit, Perry told a group of Washington reporters over coffee on Monday.
Bush will be remembered as a good president, Perry explained, "but it won't be based on fiscal issues. It will be based on keeping us free and keeping us safe."
"He may go down as more than a good president, even above that, but at the same time I think they missed some opportunities to send some good messages to a Congress that was spending too much money frankly on programs that we cant afford and don't need," he said of the former president, pointing specifically to the Medicare prescription drug benefit and No Child Left Behind.
"I think those were both big government, but more important they were Washington-centric," he said of the programs. "One size does not fit all, unless you're talking tube socks."
Perry was vague when pressed on what specific federal programs should be sliced to reduce federal spending levels, but said all federal programs, including the defense budget, should be subject to scrutiny and possible cuts.
"If we are really going to lay out ideas that can solve the challenges of this economic crisis this country faces, then everything needs to be on the table," he said.
Perry followed up his sit-down with beltway opinion-makers with a speech at the Heritage Foundation. Later in the day, he will fly to New York for a taping of "The Daily Show with John Stewart."
The governor's emergence on the national stage began during the governor's race, with his early courting of the Tea Party movement and daily broadsides against President Obama – rhetoric that had his Democratic opponent, former Houston Mayor Bill White, claiming that Perry already had his sights on the White House.
Perry, though, re-iterated that he has no presidential ambitions and pledged to serve out the entire four years of his next term, unless he dies.
"The Lord may have a different game plan for me in four years," he said. "I may not be alive in four years."
Aside from a critical remark about the Massachusetts health care plan implemented by former Gov. Mitt Romney, Perry refused to speculate about which of the potential 2012 presidential contenders he prefers.
The best candidate, he said, will be "a committed fiscal conservative" who wants to "make Washington as inconsequential as it can for the people" of this country. "I think the people are yearning for someone to devolve this power back out of Washington, D.C. to the states," he said.