Perry: Free Private Sector Key to Economy

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AUSTIN, Texas -- For a man considering running for president, Gov. Rick Perry is calm, cool and collected.

He entered his office for an interview with CBN News, singing "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

But if you want to get him riled up, ask him what the federal government can learn from Texas.

"I think in the decade of the 2000s, 2.2 million jobs were lost and at the same time Texas created 730,000," Perry said.

"The last two years we've created nearly half the jobs created in America and listen, it wasn't by accident," he said.

Perry credits low taxes, fair regulations, and a system that actually punishes people who bring baseless lawsuits for helping keep Texas afloat while much of the country treads water during this tough economy.

"That is the simple, yet profound way for America to get back to being the powerful economic engine that it could be," the Texas governor said.

"I don't make any bones about it. I mean, this isn't rocket science. You need to free the private sector from all of these regulations, all of this litigation, all of this taxation," he said. "If America sees that and they hear that, our best days are in front of us."

How does that give you an advantage if you decide to get into this race?" CBN News asked.

"I think Americans are looking for someone who has the experience of running a big state, in particular," Perry replied.

The longest serving governor of the second largest state also surrounds himself with heroes like Texan Sam Houston, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan.

"Some have said that Rick Perry is the second coming of Ronald Reagan," CBN News told the Republican governor.

"I'm a huge Ronald Reagan fan, but there will only be one Ronald Reagan and I respect that," Perry said.

Some suggest Perry's Lone Star swagger may not play well outside of Texas, and if he decides to run he'll be joining the race late.

But his conservative pedigree may be enough to push him to the top of the pack in early voting conservative states like Iowa and South Carolina, a state he will be visiting later this month.

"Wouldn't America be stronger economically if we removed all those strings that have been attached to everything - seems like, whether it's our EPA regulations or whether it's the way we deliver health care or what the heck business is it of the federal government to tell us how to educate our kids?" Perry asked.

"Remove all those strings and let these states go out there and be laboratories of innovation," he said.

He's such a believer in states rights that he's defended state decisions that he fundamentally disagrees with.

But on issues like traditional marriage, which he says are important to the fabric of the nation, he supports amending the constitution to make it the law of the land.

"I support the federal marriage amendment and I also support the same with the issue of abortion. And I also that same process for a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution so Washington will finally get the message of, 'Hey, quit spending all the money," Perry explained.

His announcement on whether he's running for president is expected in the next few weeks.

"I have no idea what God's plans are for me, but I'm going to try to be as faithful to him as I can be," Perry said.

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Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.