November 8th, 2010
11:51 AM ET
12 years ago

Perry faults Bush for 'big government' initiatives

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.

Filed under: 2010 • 2012 • George W. Bush • Rick Perry • Texas
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Fred

    Why didn't you speak out when Bush was Pres.? Hypocrite!

    November 8, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. DG

    Bush did not keep us safe. 9-11 happened on his and the other Republicans watch. Bush had been warned that Bin Laden was going to attack us inside the US and he ignored it, didn't believe, and did nothing. So Bush besides destroying our country economically and driving it into the ground, did not keep us safe.

    November 8, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. Jilli

    Perry is a complete fraud. Texas is facing a $25 billion deficit. Some fiscal conservative.

    Perry is also talking big about the evils of health care reform – but put his hand out and is taking the money.

    He also wants to fight environmental regs – good luck – the environment, and hunting in particular is a $50 million / year business in TX – who wants to hunt or fish in a state with toxic air and water.

    This clown is all hat and no cattle, just like his predecessor.

    November 8, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. T'SAH from Virginia

    "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."

    If this is the case – then Perry is saying BUSH was a BAD President – he also started two wars we could not afford – he cut taxes that we could not afford!! As far as keeping us SAFE – we're no more safe than what we were before 9/11 because EVERY DAY, the terrorist are "practicing" plots on us and most of them, we don't even know what's happening!! We're ONLY safe until the NEXT terror attack!!

    This is T'sah – OUT of Campaign MODE (for now) – N2 MOVING AMERICA FORWARD!!

    November 8, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. RapierEdge

    Of course, Perry feels the feds over-reach, but when it comes to his own backyard, doesn't care if the state government over-reaches. Guess he doesn't remember the Trans-Texas Corridor fiasco. Talk about abusing the public's trust.

    November 8, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. Peter E

    It is nice to know there are a few republicans out there willing to admit that the party actually in charge during the Bush years was to blame for the mistakes made during those years!

    November 8, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Wow, one republican admission of fault, only millions more to go. Republicans continue to try to revise history, and paint the crises of today on Obama's year and a half, or on Clinton's eight years, but not the eight years of Bush in between, despite that Bush himself and his republican Congress hugely expanded government and deficits. It's okay for Bush, but not okay for democrats to do the same thing? Hypocrites!

    November 8, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. GOP Scorched Earth Politics

    Duh. Were you living under a rock for the past 10 years? The greatest increase in spending and NOT paying for legislation was under the reign of Bush and the GOP – controlled Congress. The spending skyrocketed when he created a big fat new agency that we didn't really need and increasing defense spending to go chase around a few hundreds thugs that hide in caves. All the bombers and ships in the world won't help win that kind of war.

    November 8, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. Whatever

    HYPOCRITE!!!!!!!! WOW – – and the people of Texas - obviously brain power is not big down there!!!!

    November 8, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. PalmReader

    Republicans during the Bush administration were also at fault for ballooning the deficit, Perry told a group of Washington reporters over coffee on Monday.
    Yep. And they keep getting re-elected. Sorry, Perry. Don't need to buy your book to understand just how devastating Bush and the GOPers were to America. Have been living with the consequences since 2007.

    November 8, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Doyle Wiley, MI

    What surprises me is that when Bush campaigned to be President the ship USS Cole was damaged when a boat loaded with explosives exploded after ramming the USS Cole. On the campaign trail Bush said, if he was President the attack would not have happened. He then want further and dared the terrorist to attack America while he was President. Then less than a year into his Presidency 9/11 happened. I was surprised the NEWS media never mention it.

    November 8, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    There is truth to that, but the real growth in the deficit during Bush, had a lot to do with fighti9ng 2 wars, simultaneously, one of which should have been fought, and one that perhaps should not have been fought, but in truth, Iraq was unfinished business, and would have been unnecessary if Bush Sr. had taken a stronger position, in the first Gulf War, and done the job right, at that time.

    November 8, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west, the DemocRAT gift that just keeps on giving

    Finally a government official that GETS IT!! The US was designed to be state-centric, NOT DC centric! The Progressive Socialists have worked for 100 years to balloon the federal government until it now takes most of our earnings and heaps thousnads of laws on our shoulders, every one of them diminishing our freedom. They have turned the Federal government into an onerous burden to the people. This beast must be starved and reduced or it WILL consume all of us eventually.

    November 8, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Perry took stimulous money for the State of Texas at the same time he complained about it, he's a fraud and liar.

    November 8, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    191 Pages? Boy, he must have a lot of deep thoughts and information to share. Is that with double spacing and extra margins? Is it illustrated as well? Hahahaha...probably reads like Deep Thoughts with Jack know, if Jack Handy was an ideologue moron who thinks the 2010 mid-terms is finally the South's chance to rise again.

    November 8, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. Whatever

    The republicians are not as smart as we thought... if they think the country is going to elect a Repub president with a Repub controlled house you are C R A Z Y!!!!!!!! Our economy would collaspe within a year!!!!

    November 8, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Whatever

    If the Republicians raise the debt celiing we are going to start screaming!!!! They should have no reason to raise it!!!! They are cutting taxes and spending!!!!! GOOD LUCK with fixing it!!!!!

    November 8, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. SethC

    What a want to be!, where was he during 9/11 now that he is writing a book and making the money off the proceeds. At Bush's expense. Hate to say it but they crawl out of the woodwork.

    November 8, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. ken

    Perry sat back and smiled when Bush destroyed the economy, and then called him a goodPresident, and what happened in N.Y., Penn, and Wash,D.C. is not keeping us safe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 8, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. Sarah McCarthy

    Poor Texas,a State full of BIG MOUTH LOSERS,first the Cowboys,Texas baseball,Bush,Jerry Jones,and this Knuckledragger wannabe President so he can leave the Union,hahaha

    November 8, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Ted

    GW Bush was a horrible president. Actually Dick Cheney was president and Bush was his puppet. Bush lost his veto pen and approved spending on bad programs, started two stupid costly deficit ridden wars. Now that he has written his book, can he now be given his subpoena to appear at The Hague for war crimes trials? Send Cheney one also. Let the scum rot in some foreign prison.

    November 8, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. thomas

    An other in the closet Log cabin Republican , who is behind this guy ?

    November 8, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. Steve (the real one)

    Perry sat back and smiled when Bush destroyed the economy, and then called him a goodPresident, and what happened in N.Y., Penn, and Wash,D.C. is not keeping us safe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Point taken BUT at the same time, Obama stated we can absorb ANOTHER attack! between underwear bombs, package bombs in airplanes and trucks, vehicle bombs in time square, the only thing going for Obama is these things never went off! Is that keeping us safe?

    November 8, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    Well, he certainly knows his audience. Anything beyond 200 pages and they'd have already lost focus and went back to watching WWE. Will the books-on-tape version be read by the actor who played Roscoe P. Coltrane?

    November 8, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. Chuck

    Last time I checked it was the capitalist elite who had abused our trust: the bankers nearly destroyed Wall Street, the oil barons nearly destroyed the Louisiana gulf, and lets not forget Cheney's merry band of no-bid contractors who ran amok during the Iraq war–a multi trillion dollar war that has nearly bankrupt America.

    So, Gov. Perry, you are either misguided, or attempting to misinform. We need to be saved, not from the government, but from the amoral Republican party with its almost ravenous desire for wealth and power.

    November 8, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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