DES MOINES, IOWA – Texas Governor Rick Perry said he he “felt good, felt great” during a weekend event in New Hampshire. Video of Perry giving the freewheeling speech went viral this week and was parodied on late night TV, but Perry dismissed questions, saying video can be manipulated to appear a certain way.
“It was a great crowd. Good response, and I guess you can do anything you want with a video and make it look any way you want, but I felt good, felt great. I think the message got across very well, so it was a good speech,” Perry told reporters at Drake’s Diner in Des Moines.
Perry, who was back in his cowboy boots four months after major back surgery, said voters should expect to see him “very energized, very focused talking about a twenty percent flat tax and being a consistent conservative and not a conservative of convenience.”
Earlier today, Mitt Romney, who polled second in the latest Des Moines Register poll, issued a release calling Perry “wrong for Iowa,” but Perry countered that Iowans will decide who is “right” themselves and suggested they might not favor Romney’s tax plan.
“Well, I think Iowans are the ones who will decide who’s right for Iowa, not some candidate, so we’re going to be talking about taxes, we’re going to be talking about regulation which most people in Iowa think are too high and too onerous, and you know, look at our tax plans and Iowans will have an opportunity to do that. 20 percent flat tax on the personal side versus Mr. Romney wants to leave the same tax rates in place. I don’t think Iowans are going to like that, so anyways it’s the people of Iowa that decide the next president, not the candidates’ opinion and not the pundits’ opinion, so I’m just looking forward to campaigning here for the next sixty plus days talking to people about the issues that are important to them.”
Over the weekend, Perry was criticized on FOX News Sunday for setting 2.5 million as a figure for the number of jobs he will create when some calculations show the unemployment rate will actually increase if only 2.5 million jobs are created, but Perry called the number he projected a “lowball.”
“2.5 million, I think obviously is a very very cautious and lowball if you will. The sky’s the limit on job creation if you don’t overtax and overregulate.”
Perry refused to comment on the allegations of sexual harassment facing opponent Herman Cain.
“As a good rule of thumb until things go past allegations to a fact, I just try to leave them alone,” Perry said.
The media availability at Drake’s Diner was the fourth time in the past 11 days that reporters had the opportunity to ask Perry questions, a change from the earlier months of his campaign when he held six media availabilities in two months.
The Texas governor ate lunch with Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds. They both ate the veggie rarebit burger with fries.