DENISON, Iowa - Winding up the first day of his bus tour, Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked voters at a restaurant here to have his "back in Iowa," and, in return, he promised to have their back in Washington, D.C.
"This campaign's not about me. This campaign's about millions of Americans who want to take our country back, want to take it back from Washington and Wall Street, get it back to Main Street," Perry said at a meet-and-greet event here at Cronk's Café Restaurant and Lounge. "If you'll have my back in Iowa on Jan. 3, I'll have your back in Washington, D.C., for four years."
Perry continued to describe himself as a Washington outsider, but this time he took it one step further, calling out those candidates who served as members of Congress and naming Mitt Romney as a candidate from Wall Street.
"The difference between me and my other colleagues that are standing on that podium with me is that: Who has the record and where have they been?" Perry said. "And we have a Washington insider in practically every one of those whose name is either congressman or former congressman. We have a Wall Streeter, in the case of Mitt Romney, and I'm the only person on that stage who's an outsider."
While much of Perry's speech and questions focused on promoting his idea for a part-time Congress and bringing reforms to Washington, one voter relayed his view that not using waterboarding as a means of keeping Americans alive is "immoral," a claim Perry agreed with.
"I can't disagree with you," Perry said to applause. "America doesn't use torture. Waterboarding's not torture. And you know those who say it is? I'm sorry. They're wrong."
The Texas governor expressed the need to protect American soldiers by returning decisions about the rules of engagement to commanders in the field.
"I'll tell you what irritates me as much or more than that is when our young men and women are tasked to go in a war and you've got some individual sitting in an air-conditioned office in Washington, D.C., telling them what the rules of engagement are that put their lives in danger," Perry said. "That is going to come to a stop under my administration. The commanders in the field will make the difference, make the decisions."
Perry will take a break from his bus tour Thursday to prepare for a Fox News debate in Sioux City, Iowa. The Texas governor will resume his bus tour Friday afternoon with stops in Cherokee and Storm Lake, Iowa.