Custom Search

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rick Perry on Social Security, Immigration, HPV Decision and More

TIME has published and interview with Governor Rick Perry that deals with the Middle East, Social Security, his controversial HPV vaccine decision, immigration and other questions.


But you know there’s concern that you use controversial rhetoric, like calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.”

There may be someone who is an established Republican who circulates in the cocktail circuit that would find some of my rhetoric to be inflammatory or what have you, but I’m really talking to the American citizen out there. I think American citizens are just tired of this political correctness and politicians who are tiptoeing around important issues. They want a decisive leader. I’m comfortable that the rhetoric I have used was both descriptive and spot on. Calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme has been used for years. I don’t think people should be surprised that terminology would be used.

No one gets confused about the point I was making, that we have a system that is now broken. We need to make sure that those on Social Security today — and those approaching it — know without a doubt it will be in place. It will not go away. We’ll have a transitional period for those in mid-career as they’re planning for their retirement. And our young people should be given some options. I don’t know what all of those options need to be yet, but they know instinctively that the program that is there today is not going to be there for them unless there are changes made.

I don’t get particularly concerned that I need to back off from my factual statement that Social Security, as it is structured today, is broken. If you want to call it a Ponzi scheme, if you want to say it’s a criminal enterprise, if you just want to say it’s broken –they all get to the same point. We need, as a country, to have an adult conversation. Don’t try to scare the senior citizens and those who are on Social Security that it’s somehow going to go away with the mean, old heartless Republican.


Do you believe there should be a Palestinian state?

I certainly have some concerns. The first step in any peaceful negotiation for a two-state solution for the Palestinians is to recognize the right of Israel’s existence. They have to denounce terrorism in both word and deed. And they have to sit down and negotiate with Israel directly. Anything short of that is a non-starter in my opinion.


You were attacked by your Republican rivals in Monday’s debate for making in-state college tuition available to some illegal immigrants. What is your assessment of the immigration debate in this country?

The issue of education and in-state tuition is a state issue. It’s not a federal issue, and it shouldn’t be a federal issue. If you don’t like that in Arizona, if you don’t like that in Massachusetts, that’s your call. But in the state of Texas, we made the decision that on in-state tuition for young people — and frankly we don’t care what the sound of their last name is — we’re going to help them to become contributing members of society.

The bigger issue is that you’re never going to have a conversation that is anything more than an intellectual exercise about immigration until you secure the border. That is what we must focus on as a country. I do not agree that building a 1,800-mile barrier is thoughtful. It’s an easy answer. I think it’s a cop out for anyone who’s actually been on the border. It’s like building a wall from Bangor, Maine to Miami, Florida. What does work is strategic fencing in your metropolitan areas, having the boots on the ground. We are woefully understaffed on that border.

We have the technology. Predator drones are being flown in United States air space as we speak. Why not fly those from Brownsville, Texas, to El Paso and to Tijuana and back and use that real-time information for local law enforcement, our state law enforcement and our federal counterparts? That’s how you thoughtfully secure that border, and then you can have a discussion about what type of immigration reform we want to consider as a country. But not until then. Too many times, we’ve been told, if we’ll just pass this immigration reform then we’ll secure the border. And it hasn’t happened.


Even if you regret the way you implemented it, do you still think that a mandatory HPV vaccine for teenage girls is good public policy?

I think anything that a state can do to fight cancer is a wise and a thoughtful approach. Did I make an error in how I went about this? Yes, I’ve readily admitted that I shouldn’t have used an executive order. I should have had an opt-in and I should have worked through the legislative process. We work for the people of the state, not the other way around. When they say, we don’t want to go there, we’re not going there. But should we be looking of ways to conquer all of these different cancers that are out there? Absolutely. And I’ll tell you what I am not ashamed of: I have spent the better point of my public service life trying to defend life and find cures for diseases that are impacting millions of people in our country.

There are other questions and answers covered, so head over to TIME and read the rest.

Other Perry news

According to RCP's 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination average, Rick Perry is still leader of the GOP pack with a double digit lead on over all the other Republican candidates. RCP uses the latest polling from a variety of organizations to obtain that average.

Breakdown of Perry's lead on 9/15/11 (This number changes as new polls come and get added it to RCP's averages) I am excluding Sarah Palin because she is not a declared candidate.

Perry - 30.9%
Romney - 19.9%
Paul - 9.3%
Bachmann - 7.1%
Gingrich - 5.1%
Cain - 4.7%
Santorum - 2.7%
Huntsman - 1.4%

Related Perry News

NYTs' The Caucus with "Making the Grade? Perry Says He Didn’t."