The swirling force of Texas politics

Perry Talks Budget, Higher Office and the Green Party

By Omar Villafranca
|  Friday, Jun 11, 2010  |  Updated 9:15 AM CDT
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Perry: White Doesn't Have "The Character" to Lead Texas

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Perry: White Doesn't Have "The Character" to Lead Texas

The gloves are off in the governor's race, as Gov. Rick Perry questions the character of his Democratic opponent, Bill White.
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Rick Perry swears he's not running for President. The governor, who is in Dallas for the state GOP convention, discussed the coming budget shortfall and the Green Party on the November ballot.

After defeating GOP rival (now their back to being friendly) US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Perry's name was being tossed around on national talk radio shows. He's had campaign events with Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, both mulling presidential bids in 2012. Perry even showed up at the White House Press Dinner in Washington DC and the cover of Newsweek.

But still, when asked if he's considering running for higher office, the answer is simple.

"No." Perry said. "Don't leave the best job in America to go be inconsequential," Perry said.

It's a mantra he's echoed before on the campaign trial, but when pressed on the growing list of high profile events and guests, Perry said he's trying to make his profile as big as Texas'.

"I think it is wise for the governor of the most influential state in this nation to have a very high profile because I am interested in being a national leader. I am interested in being an individual that other governors look at and feel a little uncomfortable that we're being out done by the state of Texas," Perry said.

Perry said he plans to support and campaign for other GOP gubernatorial and senate candidates from other states, including GOP candidate for governor Meg Whitman, US Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina of California, Republican gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez of New Mexico, GOP hopeful Scott McInnis in Colorado's gubernatorial race and Brian Sandoval, who is Nevada's GOP candidate for governor

The Dallas Morning News broke a story on the Green Party of Texas making it onto the November ballot. A move that campaign watchers figure will weaken Perry's democratic opponent Bill White while helping Perry. The DMN's report said a conservative group is behind the ballot initiative. Late Thursday, Texas Democrats put the brakes on the a slate of Green Party candidates getting on the ballot, pending a review in court.

Perry denies that any of his campaign staff, consultants or advisers know of the group behind the ballot initiative.

"I've never heard of any of them," Perry said.

The coming state budget shortfall is an issue Perry's November opponents continue to hammer him on. In meetings in Austin, Republican state rep Jim Pitts of Waxahachie has estimated the budget gap at around $18 billion. Perry has already asked for 10 percent cuts across the board, but didn't want to get specific on what agencies, programs or initiatives he thinks should get cut based on performance.

"I think trying to draw the budget up in June of 2010 for the 2011 budget cycle is way speculative, is what I think," Perry said. "I have done this for 25 years. Being a member of the legislature or running a state agency or being the lieutenant governor and the governor. I know how to deal with the state budget and we've done it before, we'll do it again."

NBC DFW has requested a similar interview with Democratic nominee Bill White. We are working with the Bill White campaign on a date for the interview.

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