Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday that President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are to blame for the standoff in Washington that has led to a partial government shutdown, but he also urged lawmakers to recognize that a long-term stalemate could damage the nation's financial health.
"Both sides have to realize that it's not in their best interest to allow for a degrading of the American credit," Perry said in an interview.
The Texas Republican, who is considering a 2016 White House run, depicted the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as obstructionists as Washington lawmakers appeared headed for a weekend of squabbling.
"This is on him," Perry said of Obama. "He refuses to lead."
In Washington, where a midmonth deadline loomed for averting a first-ever default, Democrats held to their position of agreeing to negotiate on the budget only after the government is reopened and the $16.7 trillion debt limit is raised. Meanwhile, Republicans ramped up calls for cuts in federal benefit programs and future deficits after earlier insisting on defunding the health care overhaul in exchange for re-opening government.
The Democratic president "is the leader of this county," Perry said. It "sends a very bad message."
He credited Republican House Speaker John Boehner with proposing legislative remedies but faulted Obama and Reid for "saying no, no, no."
Perry traveled to California to attend the state's Republican Party convention, where he is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech Saturday. Meeting with reporters, he urged California businesses to consider moving to Texas where taxes are lower -- a pitch he made earlier this year.
He depicted Democratic-tilting California, home to Silicon Valley and the world's ninth largest economy, as a state shackled by high taxes and big-government regulation. But he also pivoted at times, praising the state's reputation for innovation.
Perry has traveled to a handful of states attempting to lure jobs to Texas, which has led to criticism that he is attempting to raise his national profile for a possible White House run.
The governor said he plans to decide next year, or possibly later, whether to enter the presidential race. One thing he said he learned from his last run, which ended when he pulled out of the GOP primary after shaky debate appearances: "Get in early."
Perry also tempered a remark he made earlier this week in New Jersey, when he said the implementation of the president's national health care overhaul was "a criminal act." Perry said Friday that he used the word figuratively.
He also praised a fellow Texan, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who was known for his strong-arm negotiating in Congress and the White House.
"He knew how to negotiate," Perry said, suggesting that Johnson would never have allowed a government shutdown to occur. "He knew how to go cut a deal."