Perry hedges on political future during Iowa visit

Texas governor says he hasn't decided whether he'll seek GOP nomination

Mike Wiser
Published: February 28 2014 | 7:50 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 4:16 am in

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday he came to Iowa to help Gov. Terry Branstad in his 2014 re-election campaign, and is not thinking about his own political future beyond this year.

“I didn’t say I wasn’t interested (in the presidency). I said I hadn’t made a decision in whether I was going to run or not,” Perry said after a taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” show Thursday afternoon. “Terry’s involvement as a senior member of the Republican Governors Association is important.”

The Texas governor is in Iowa for a scheduled two-day visit, during which his itinerary included a Thursday night stop at the Branstad/GOP Victory offices in central Iowa and a Friday visit to Davenport. It’s Perry’s second trip to the state since he dropped out of the race for the presidential nomination after finishing fifth in the 2012 Iowa Caucuses.

Perry came out strongly for states’ rights during his stop, saying that marijuana legalization, abortion and same-sex marriage all are issues that should be left up to the states.

He criticized Judge Orlando Garcia’s decision this week that overturned the Texas same-sex marriage ban.

“I sat by that judge for a number of years in the state legislature, and Orlando is representing, I think, the left side of the political aisle, if you will, when it comes to those decisions,” he said. “I believe whether it’s in Texas or in Iowa or the other 48 states that the citizens of a state can best make the decisions that affect the citizens better than a federal judge, or, for that matter, someone in Washington, D.C.”

Perry also said that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer made the right decision Wednesday in vetoing legislation that would have allowed business owners to bar service to gay men, lesbians and others on religious grounds.

“She did for Arizona, absolutely,” he said. “We address those issues from time to time and, again, I may not agree with a particular position, but it is each state’s 10th Amendment prerogative to make those decisions.”

Perry also said the government should not set a minimum wage.

“For the president of the United States to be forcing businessmen and women to raise the minimum wage, we know what’s going to happen,” he said. “There’s going to be young kids – a lot of these are going to be minorities – that are going to lose jobs because these businesses … are going to have to let people go.”

He stopped short, however, of saying he would eliminate a federal minimum wage if given the opportunity.

When asked about Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who is a possible contender for the GOP nomination in 2016, Perry came down on the side of governors.

Governors, he said, “get things done” while Untied States senators “talk a lot.”

Pressed for his views of ethanol – which is popular in Iowa, but not so much in Texas – Perry said renewable fuels have a role to play in U.S. energy policy, but he favors “market forces.” He also kept his thoughts on the Iowa Caucuses and their impact on the presidential nominating process close to his vest.

“I don’t know whether it’s fair or not. It’s the reality and I’ll let somebody else decide if it’s fair or not,” he said.

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