Texas Gov. Rick Perry held his first presidential campaign fund-raiser in Philadelphia this afternoon and sat down for an exclusive interview with PhillyClout before speaking to an audience of about 110 people at the Four Seasons Hotel. The word of the day for Perry was jobs, a theme he repeatedly returned to, no matter what question was asked.
Perry stressed his record in the last decade in creating jobs in Texas. He said that grew from keeping taxes low, governmental regulations "fair and predictable" and preventing "over-suing" in the legal system. In short, Perry says the federal government should stay out of the way and let business "do what the private sector does best."
Perry didn't mention President Obama by name but took two clear shots at two key presidential policies: Health care reform and transportation infrastructure. Perry said the federal government should not tell the states how to handle those issues.
"I mean, the idea that Washington DC is going to get us out of this mess, from the standpoint of printing more money and putting more stimulus out there and raising taxes, it's a dream," Perry said. "Actually, it's a nightmare."
Perry steered the conversation back to jobs when we asked how he hoped to break the cycle of Republican presidential candidates losing Pennsylvania in every election in the last two decades. He did the same when we asked how he might recover from a fall-off in support after a rough path on the debate circuit.
We noted that many Republicans clamored for Perry to enter the race, unhappy with the other GOP candidates. That clamor has now turned to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. And advice for Christie, we asked?
"You know what?" Perry told us. "Everyone who is taking a look at this thing will come to the right conclusion on their own."