Texas Gov. Rick Perry said individuals should not be questioned on their “decision about their sexuality” and said he would be “comfortable” returning to the military policy of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
Perry said DADT worked well before President Obama repealed it in what Perry described as a response to Obama’s political base.
“I think you go back to commanders in the field and have that conversation. I think Don’t Ask Don’t Tell worked very well,” Perry said in an ABC News/Yahoo interview with Christiane Amanpour. “I think the idea that the president of the United States wanted to make a political statement using our men and women in the military as the tool for that was irresponsible.”
“The president of the United States, changing a policy that was working well and to do it while we were at war in two different theaters, I think was irresponsible and I truly believe he did it to respond to his political base,” Perry said.
Perry, who served in the Air Force, said individuals should not be asked about their decisions on how they will practice their sexuality.
“If an individual in their private life makes a decision about their sexuality from the standpoint of how they’re going to practice it, that’s their business. I don’t think that question needs to be asked.”
“That’s reason don’t ask don’t tell was in fact a workable policy and that’s where I would be comfortable with our country going back to that,” he said.
On Iran, Perry said he would not rule out a preemptive strike to ensure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, and says Obama should have taken measure to overthrow the current regime.
“We’re either going to allow this madman to become in control of a nuclear device or we are going to have a … military strike to keep that from occurring either the Israelis unilaterally or in a bilateral or multilateral way with their allies,” Perry said. “I never would take a military option off the table when it comes to dealing with this individual.”
Perry criticized President Obama’s handling of relations with Iran, saying he was “naively having conversations “naively having conversations with the Syrians and the Iranians rather than using both diplomatic and economic, covert or even civic opportunities to overthrow this oppressive regime. He missed a great opportunity.”
“I think the United States needed to be actively involved in taking that oppressive regime out of control of Iran, we had an opportunity and we missed it.”
Asked what Democrat on Capitol Hill he could work with, Perry pointed to a higher Democrat – Joe Biden – saying he “gets it” compared to the president who is “dividing this country.”
“I think it would be very helpful if we had a president of the United States that is not about dividing this country, and I think President Obama is about dividing this country with frankly no thought about what it does to the future of this country,” Perry said.
“I could sit down and talk to Joe Biden. I think Joe Biden gets it. I think he’s probably a loyal vice president, but I think he understands that you cannot take this country forward by increasing taxes. You cannot take this country forward with passing pieces of legislation like Dodd-Frank that strangles our small community banks,” Perry said. “This was a president who came into office with great expectations. His policies have failed. They have failed miserably. His foreign policy has failed miserably.”
Perry refused to comment on whether the sexual harassment allegations facing Herman Cain could disqualify him for the presidency, saying he would
“I think trying to make theoretical calls about issues that are dogging a particular campaign is not of great interest to me,” Perry said.
In a lightning round of questions, Perry said his favorite junk food is Vienna sausage and crackers, confessed he’s not much of a TV person, and said the worst job he’s ever had was building fences with a jackhammer in the 1970's. And what would the governor with small town Texas roots pick as his theme song?
“It’d have to be something that Beethoven wrote,” said Perry, who plays the piano and met his wife Anita at a elementary school piano recital.