When Rick Perry made the television rounds to promote his book "Fed Up!" last November, the Texas governor was asked if his book could be seen as a build-up to a presidential run, a notion Perry firmly shot down.
"If there is a better signal of my plans for the future of not running for the presidency of the United States, it's this book," Perry said last November. "Anyone running for the presidency is not going to go take on these issues with the power that I do."
Fast forward nine months, and you'll find quite the opposite.
The states' rights loving Perry has stepped onto the national stage, declaring a run for presidency, and in a matter of weeks, has become the frontrunner in the Republican race. During the early weeks of retail politicking across the country, Perry has already confronted backlash to some of the more contentious issues addressed in his states' rights tome.
Perry, the longest serving governor in Texas history, believes the Founding Fathers intended to empower the states and limit the role of the federal government.
"The Tenth Amendment offers concrete proof that the Founders intended for states to play a leading role not only in governing the people but also in defending the rights of their citizens against the powerful and potentially dangerous central government," Perry wrote. "It stands for the principle that there is a limit to what Washington can and should do."
The Texas governor categorizes states as "laboratories of democracy," and says they encourage citizens to "vote with their feet."
"If you don't support the death penalty and citizens packing a pistol, don't come to Texas. If you don't like medicinal marijuana and gay marriage, don't move to California," Perry warns in his book.
"I would no more consider living in Massachusetts than I suspect a great number of folks from Massachusetts would like to live in Texas. We just don't agree on a number of things," Perry wrote. "They passed state-run health care, they have sanctioned gay marriage, and they elected Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Barney Frank repeatedly – even after actually knowing about them and what they believe!"
"Texans, on the other hand, elect folks like me. You know the type, the kind of guy who goes jogging in the morning, packing a Ruger .380 with laser sights and loaded with hollow-point bullets, and shoots a coyote that is threatening his daughter's dog."
At a stop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire two weeks ago, Perry was peppered with questions from angry voters asking why he believed Social Security was unconstitutional, but the Texas governor claimed he never said that.
In his book, Perry calls social security a "ponzi scheme," akin to the one perpetrated by Bernard Madoff, which has "hoodwinked the American public into thinking that Social Security is a retirement system and financially sound, when clearly it is not," and he says the entitlement program is conducted "all at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government."
Perry has already back tracked on some of his states-rights positions. In his book, he warned that the Supreme Court was meddling in states' decisions regarding same-sex marriage and abortion. As recently as July, he said gay marriage should be decided on the state level, saying New York's recent decision to allow same-sex marriage was "fine" by him.
On Friday however, Perry signed a pledge supporting a federal amendment defining marriage.
And in regards to abortion, the pro-life governor has argued the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to determine its legality, but last week, Perry abandoned this principle and signed an anti-abortion pledge working to federally end abortion.
Here are six more important points from 'Fed Up!':
|The Ten Commandments Outside the State Capitol|
"We fought to ensure that we could continue to display the Ten Commandments outside the Texas State Capitol Building in Austin." (p.102)
A granite monument of the Ten Commandments rests on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol, and in 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in Van Orden v. Perry that it was constitutional to display the religious monument outside the government building. Perry criticizes the Supreme Court in his book calling the justices "nine oligarchs in robes."
|Global Warming and Al Gore: "One Contrived Phony Mess"|
"(Al) Gore found something more satiating to his ego than the presidency. He found a global cause, and he became the prophet who could protect us from Armageddon. Soon he took his PowerPoint presentation around the globe, raising concerns about melting icebergs and undersized polar bears. The Left embraced him like never before. Hollywood toasted him as their hero. The Nobel Committee gave him a peace prize. He won an Oscar. And it's all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight." Perry is a climate change skeptic, recently saying global warming has been entirely "politicized" and that scientists "have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their, to their projects."
|Protecting Gun Rights From Meddlesome Statists|
"We Texans like our guns. We don't like meddlesome statists who want to infringe on our right to keep and bear them. Fortunately, in this area of the law, we are in better shape than in others, but only barely, and mainly because we have been diligent in fighting legislation in this area in the first place, giving the Court fewer opportunities to be active." (p.105)
Perry has unabashedly proclaims his love of the second amendment. The Texas governor carries a Ruger .380 pistol and legend has it he once shot a coyote who threatened his Labrador retriever while jogging.
|The Death Penalty - 234 Executions of "Heinous" Criminals|
"In the end, the states know best how they wish to punish criminals and for what crimes. Are we perfect? No…For Washington, and in particular the Supreme Court, to step in and tell us, our friends in Louisiana, or any other state, whether it is right to execute a heinous criminal – or tell us how to carry out justice – is the height of arrogance and disregards federalism at its most basic level." (p.101-102) Perry has overseen the most executions of any governor in the country. There have been 234 executions carried out under Perry's watch.
"While our federal officials jealously claim exclusive authority over immigration and border policy, they avoid actually securing the border. While they mandate that state taxpayers provide services, they rarely confront any of the associated costs. In so doing, the federal government refuses to fulfill its most basic constitutional responsibilities." (p.122)
As the governor of a 1,200 mile border state, Perry has been an outspoken critic of the administration's ability to deal with border security. He does not support a border fence and believes Obama needs to make protecting the border a greater priority. Perry recently criticized Obama's claim that border security was strengthened saying, "Six weeks ago, the President went to El Paso and said the border is safer than it's ever been. I have no idea, maybe he was talking about the Canadian border."