Texas Gov. Rick Perry came out swinging today in South Carolina, making his fiercest hit yet on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his record as a job creator.
“There is no one going to be sitting on that stage who has the record of job creation that I have,” Perry said at Rep. Tim Scott’s, R-S.C., town hall in Conway, S.C. Monday morning. “There’s going to be some that get up and say ‘Well I’ve created jobs,’ and that’s true. There’s one in particular who’s created jobs all over the world, but while he was the governor of Massachusetts, he didn’t create very many jobs.”
The two were set to appear at Sen. Jim DeMint’s Palmetto Freedom Forum in Columbia, S.C. Monday afternoon, but Perry, who overtook Romney’s position as front-runner in recent polls, cancelled his appearance to attend to the wildfires scorching thousands of acres across central Texas
“I’m leaving directly from here and going back to Texas. Our state has got wildfires that are running quite wild and zero containment right now, and the winds are supposed to pick up again. So just keep those folks in your prayers if you will as we go back and try to get people out of harm’s way,” Perry said. “Pray for rain as well.”
The Texas governor, who is the third candidate to participate in Scott’s presidential town hall series, answered questions from the crowd ranging from his commitment to pro-life issues to explaining where exactly he stands on gun control.
“I’m actually for gun control – use both hands,” Perry quipped.
Perry, whose book “Fed Up!” has drawn scrutiny in the past week, did not back off claims he made about social security in his 2010 book.
“I call it a Ponzi scheme. I call it a monstrous lie for our kids, and it’s true. Anyone who is running for the presidency of the United States and wants to keep status quo on entitlement is suspect. They don’t want to be honest with the American people, and we have to have that conversation.”
Perry stressed his commitment to balancing the federal budget, ridding the country of over taxation and over regulation, and downsizing the federal government, including reforming the Department of Education and Department of Energy.
“If you want to leave the education department there for a while to be a repository of best practices, I could get along with that, but the fact of the matter is they have not educated one child, just like the department of energy has not created one bit of energy.”
Perry, who hosted a day of prayer attended by 30,000 people in early August in Houston, Texas, vowed to incorporate his Christian faith in his work as president and shared a story of his wife, Anita, recently boasting about her husband’s commitment to his faith.
“She took the microphone and she said, ‘Let me share with you one thing. On Sunday morning, you won’t see my husband playing golf. He’ll be at church.’”
Many Republicans, including Perry, have criticized President Obama for spending time golfing on weekends.
A man described at the event as an 84-year-old veteran closed out the question and answer session by telling Perry he appreciated his candor, service and for distinguishing himself as different from other Texans who ascended to the presidency.
“Clearly you are a different kind of Texan. We had Lyndon Johnson and two Bushes, and we don’t need no more of them. We need you,” the veteran said.
The Texas governor flew back to Texas following the town hall to help emergency officials deal with the wildfires spreading across the state. Perry has cancelled his events in California for Tuesday but still plans on attending the Republican debate in Simi Valley, Calif. Wednesday evening.