GREER, S.C. - At a stop on his Main Street walk in Greer today, Texas Gov. Rick Perry argued that the president's decision to formally reject the Keystone XL pipeline permit shows his priorities are on re-election, not the future of the country.
"It doesn't surprise me but … again, the president's focused more on the next election than on the next generation. Getting this country independent of foreign sources of crude from countries that are not our friends is really problematic so, this Canadian oil, there's a possibility we could lose it to China with that decision," Perry told reporters in a shop along Main Street here.
Perry said he hoped Americans would "become unhinged" with the decision as the country faced the possibility of paying $4 or $5 a gallon for gasoline
Since December, in his stump speeches, the Texas governor has consistently criticized the administration and Congress for their resistance to the XL pipeline, saying the president should not allow the oil to head to China instead of using it here in the United States.
"Canada's our ally, but they're not going to leave that oil in the ground. It's going to go one of two ways. It's either going to go west to China or it's going to go south to the United States, and this president today has made a decision that he's picking China over the United States," Perry said in a speech at Southern Thymes Wednesday. "Now I'm sure he'll have some slick remark to defend it, but the fact is that's what you've done Mr. President. You've just basically said to Americans, we're going to allow the Chinese the opportunity to negotiate to go get that oil."
As he tried to differentiate himself from the president on ideology, Perry called himself the candidate who could provide a "bright contrast" to Obama.
"You want a bright contrast between President Obama and our nominee on the Republican ticket, we need that bright contrast. We don't need a lighter version of Obama. We need a powerful contrast between what Obama's done to this economy and what I've been able to help do in the state of Texas."
Perry walked along the downtown street here, peeking into several shops and restaurants along the way. With a Styrofoam cup filled with coffee he'd purchased earlier in hand, Perry stopped in at the Stomping Grounds, a coffee shop set to open in the next six days. The owner, who moved from North Carolina to South Carolina to start this business, gave Perry a coffee mug with the store's logo on it and promised to vote for him if he drank out of it.
"Oh all right, I'll get this done right now," Perry said as he placed his Styrofoam cup in the ceramic mug and took a swig of caffeine. "Stomping Grounds. Greer, South Carolina, come try some good coffee.
"That was the easiest vote I've gotten so far, right?"