OTTUMWA, Iowa - Rick Perry slammed President Obama for focusing on the payroll tax cut extension, a proposal that the Texas governor opposes because it's temporary, instead of turning his attention to such broader reforms as expanding energy production to create American jobs.
"His priorities are so messed up. He's worried about a temporary tax cut when we ought to be talking about freeing entrepreneurs so that they have the confidence that they can create jobs in this country, putting people back to work. That's what this president ought to be talking about, but he's more interested in playing politics," Perry said to a crowd of just under 100 voters at Kuhly's Bar & Grill.
Less than an hour before Perry spoke at the restaurant here, President Obama urged the House to extend the payroll tax cut extension that the Senate already passed and relayed stories of how Americans would be affected by the $40 weekly reduction in their paychecks if the compromise was not passed.
But Perry argued Obama should be more worried about the amount the national debt has increased since he became president.
"I just saw the president on TV talking about this extension of the pay roll tax, and he's standing up talking about $40 a paycheck, and what that means," Perry said. "Let me ask you all something. Are you better off today than you were $4 trillion ago? Somebody needs to ask this president about the $4 trillion that he basically has put down a rat hole that didn't create any jobs, that put this country in the economic condition that it's in."
Perry believes the president and lawmakers must enact broader reform of the tax code rather than just extending tax cuts for a temporary amount of time, and the Texas governor blasted the president for ignoring opportunities to expand energy production in the country, which Perry argues would create a boom in jobs, particularly through the construction of the XL pipeline, a plan he's promoted throughout his weeklong bus tour in Iowa.
"There's not a greater example of him playing politics with your future and people's jobs than this XL pipeline. This is about not only jobs. We're talking about tens of thousands of jobs just in the construction of this pipeline from Canada down through the middle of the United States," said Perry. "Mr. President, how about opening up some energy resources in this country, and that's the way you drive down the cost of energy. That's the way you put people to work. That's the way the American people want you to act, not playing politics."