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Perry: My Book Is Proof I Don't Want to Be President
BY JAY ROOT

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday that his new book has so many anti-Washington ideas in it that there's no way he'll be able to run for president in 2012.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press hours before the polls closed in his race for a third, full term as governor, Perry discussed his new book that is loaded with hot-button zingers on everything from Social Security to race relations.

The book, called "Fed Up: Our Fight to Save America from Washington," goes on sale Nov. 15. He drew criticism from his Democratic opponent Bill White for beginning a series of national media tours to promote the book as the state faces a budget shortfall of up to $20 billion.

Perry has been an oft-mentioned name in the run-up to the 2012 presidential race, but he says he has no interest in leaving Texas for the city he often slams.

"I think probably the best display, the best concrete evidence that I'm really not running for president is this book, because when you read this book, you're going to see me talking about issues that for someone running for public office, it's kind of been the third rail, if you will," Perry told the AP. "But these are issues that really need to be talked about."

While candidates often write books before launching presidential bids, Perry came about as close to ruling it out as a politician gets: "I am not interested in going to Washington, D.C., as president, vice-president or in anybody's Cabinet," Perry said.

For example, Perry calls Social Security a "failure" and compares it to an illegal Ponzi scheme.

"They are fraudulent systems designed to take in a lot of money at the front and pay out none in the end. This unsustainable fiscal insanity is the true legacy of Social Security and the New Deal," Perry writes in the book. Excerpts of that passage leaked out on the Internet on Monday, and it drew huge boos from White supporters on the final campaign day.

In the interview, Perry chalked up the criticisms to the "same old Democratic attacks."

"I do advocate totally rethinking the safety net, personal security programs, completely," Perry said. "Why is the government collecting your tax money for retirement and health care programs?"

Perry also criticizes the modern implementation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, saying that Texas and other, mostly southern states should no longer have to get pre-clearance from federal authorities to make significant changes affecting voting. That part of the act is known as "Section 5."

"I think Section 5 is past its usefulness," Perry said. "I think it costs states huge amounts of money and frankly is way past its usefulness."

Perry will spend most of the next three weeks talking up his book. He was scheduled to appear on NBC's The Today Show on Thursday to promote it and has a series of appearances scheduled on other TV and radio programs, including the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Perry said. Perry also will appear with former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Fort Worth next week, the campaign said.

"Don't misunderstand me," Perry writes. "America is great. But we are fed up with being overtaxed and overregulated. We are tired of being told how much salt to put on our food, what kind of cars we can drive, what kind of guns we can own."

All proceeds from the book are going to benefit a new Center for Tenth Amendment Studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Austin.