ABC News' Arlette Saenz (@arlettesaenz) reports:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry made his first visit to New Hampshire just hours after his official announcement in South Carolina as he kicks off a week of campaigning in three early primary and caucus states.
"I intend to compete for every vote in every state," Perry said. "I feel at home amongst people whose motto is live free or die."
The Texas governor attended a meet and greet with Granite State Republicans at the home of state Rep. Pamela Tucker in Greenland, N.H. He spoke for 36 minutes, and Perry spent a good portion of the event answering questions on a variety of topics, from his economic stance, which includes support for a balanced budget amendment, to foreign policy, especially increasing border security.
"Before you can talk about immigration reform, illegal immigration, what have you, you have to secure the border," he said.
The Texas governor even answered a question on his controversial measure that mandated teenage girls receive the HPV vaccine, saying it required greater discussion than he realized at the time. The Texas legislature later revoked this executive order.
"I signed an executive order that allowed for an opt out, but the fact of the matter is that I didn’t do my research well enough to understand that we needed to have a substantial conversation with our citizenry," Perry said.
"But here’s what I learned. When you get too far out in front of the parade, they will let you know, and that’s exactly what our legislature did and I saluted it and I said, 'Roger that, I hear you loud and clear' and they didn’t want to do it and we don’t, so enough said," he said.
Perry said there are certain issues he will not compromise on, pointing to his faith and position on taxes as indicators of his commitment.
"There are certain values that you don’t compromise. I mean, there are certain things in my life, I’ll tell you for instance, you know, my faith is something I am not going to compromise and when I tell folks I am not going to raise taxes, for 10 years, I haven’t raised taxes," he said. "When you give someone your word, whether it’s on the issue of something as important as the issue of morality or something as important as your taxes, then to me that’s the important message here."
Perry said few elected officials have the courage to deal with some of the country's problems, such as entitlement reform, and he vowed to run a campaign dedicated to taking on tough positions.
"If you read my book, 'Fed Up,' you hear me call it a ponzi scheme," Perry said of social security. "Having the courage to call it a ponzi scheme is I think the first step in us having a national discussion of how do we deal with these entitlements where that they don’t bankrupt this country.
"I believe in America," he said. "I believe in her purpose and her promise. I believe her best days have not yet been lived. I believe the greatest deeds have not been recorded in the annals of history. And with your help, with the grace of god, we will get America working again."