Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) – GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry may not think Washington should help create jobs but when it comes to illegal immigration, he doesn't think the federal government is doing enough.
That's what Margaret Gunderson of Abbeville found out when she asked the governor of the state that shares the largest border with Mexico where he stands on the issue.
"Matter of fact: $400 million we spent on border security in Texas since '07, and that's a shame because that's a federal responsibility," Perry said. "That's actually something the federal government's supposed to do."
His conversation with Gunderson came after speaking to a packed room of party loyalists, who paid to see the presidential newcomer and raise money for the state’s Republican party.
In those remarks, Perry appealed to the party base by delivering a message of smaller government.
"The central issue of this election is gonna be an administration that believes Washington must be our caretaker," he said. "And the people who want Washington to only care for their constitutional responsibility."
"We don't need a government solution. We need to get government out of the way and let the private sector do what the private sector does best which is create jobs," Perry said.
Gunderson agrees with the Texas governor that when it comes to illegal immigration the federal government needs to step in. She said immigration "is the one thing the federal government should be handling, not our states."
Perry shook up the Republican field by entering the nomination fight six days ago, announcing his run at the conservative RedState Gathering in Charleston.
He is in the middle of a two-day, four-city South Carolina bus tour, making stops in Florence, Columbia, Greenville, and Rock Hill.
The White House contender did not take questions from the press on the first day of his visit to the early Southern primary state.
As he was working the room at the fundraiser, Perry was asked by a journalist if he would be taking questions and politely replied, "No, I'm just shaking hands. I pretty much left the message here," referring to the seven-minute speech he just delivered.
Earlier in the day Perry spoke at length on health care at the Carolinas Hospital System in the Pee Dee region. He told gathered health care professionals that if he is elected president, on his first day in office, “There will be an executive order on that desk that eliminates as much of Obamacare as I can have done with an executive order.”
The longest-serving Texas governor spent a lot of time retail politicking in the morning at Bazen’s Family Restaurant in Florence, at the lunchtime Columbia fund-raiser, and on an evening walk through downtown Greenville with the mayor.
In Greenville Perry hammed it up with people of all ages, even rubbing tummies of four-legged friends who can’t vote.
An employee at The Barkery Bistro handed the dog lover a bag of treats called “Puppy Crack” to bring home to his dogs in Texas.
this guy is phoney
the republicans need to figure out what they want... 1st they want smaller government... then they want the federal government to step into a problem (immigration) that they say states have the right to take care of as they see fit... then they want to secede from the union... blah, blah, blah... i guess they want just enough government to blame obama for whatever goes wrong...
Perry is right, the national gov't has a role in this country as to the state governments. Protection of it's citizens are one, and looking at crime statistics we need to close our borders. I know that the states have malitias, but if we used them to enforce laws against foreign invaders in our new PC world people would get very angry. This is were we need to protect our homeland and not allow mexicans to be a leech on the american people. It teaches people nothing to allow them to enter our country break our rules and then get granted amnesty(a reward for illegalit) Instead we need harsh rules from the federal government enforcing immigration. I know that these people are poor and my heart goes out to them, but nothing is gained allowing them to work illegally.
Isn't it special that Texas lawmakers voted to give special consideration to maids and yard-workers. We're against the horde of little brown people – but not enough to clean up our own homes or mow our own grass.
Once again conservatives have found a folksy moron to follow. Surely somebody is left in the Republican Party with a reasonable approach to governing our country? Could we find a way to bring Barry Goldwater back to life? You don't need to be an ignorant hick to be a Republican!
That's funny coming from a guy who signed Texas' version of the Dream Act. More flip flops than Romney and it's only been two weeks.
Perry knows that Obama is not going to stop illegal immigration. Quite the contrary......he isn't going to stop it, and he isn't going to let anyone else stop it, either.
This could be a cake walk for Perry. He seems like a powerful candidate so far.
Those 4 legged friends need to run away from Perry or either use his leg like a fire hydrant. The best of Perry's history is yet to come, stay tuned.
Thought you wanted small gov't Rick....
But then he is back in S Carolina.. couldn't take the heat else where. Interesting that he won't take questions and I wonder what he'll do about debates, he hates debates and refused to participate in Texas but still the dummies voted for him.
That woman with the orange hair looks as enthused with Mr. Bush #2 as I am. Rick Perry if the U.S. needs one thing its definitely LESS government. Go away. RON PAUL 2012.