Rick Perry: Romney will face hurdle in 2012 over health care

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested Monday that Mitt Romney may have a hard time attracting Republican support if the former Massachusetts governor runs for president in 2012.

“The health-care plan out of Massachusetts, I will suggest to you, is too much like the health-care plan that was passed in Washington,” Perry said, referencing a state health-care plan passed during Romney’s time as governor that is similar to the one passed by Democrats in Washington this year.

Perry wouldn’t say it rules out Romney as a contender in 2012: “I don’t think anyone at this particular point are disqualified.”

Perry, a Republican governor fresh off his re-election, answered reporters questions Monday at a breakfast in Washington, D.C. while promoting his book, “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington.”

Perry, who has repeatedly said his book tour is not indicative of a planned run for president in 2012, wouldn’t list his favorites to challenge Obama, but he did say that, “I’m looking for someone who will come to Washington D.C. committed to making Washington as inconsequential as it can be to the people back out in the United States.”

Other highlights of the breakfast:

  • Perry said former President George W. Bush — also on a book tour this week — will be remembered as a good president, but said “it won’t be based on fiscal issues.” Instead, Perry said, Bush will be praised for “keeping us free” and safe from terrorists. “He may go down as more than a good president,” he said. The Texas governor also suggested that Bush was unfairly blamed during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He said local leaders in New Orleans deserve blame for their “local infighting.”
  • Perry said if you want less freedom and “a whole bunch of government services,” you can skedaddle over to California. “But if you want to live in a state where you’re more free — free from over taxation, free from over litigation … come to Texas.”
  • Perry said defense spending should be on the table when it comes to erasing the deficit. “Nothing should not be scrutinized,” he said, while adding that he’s against cutting Pentagon programs “that are effective and efficient just for the sake of cutting.”
  • Asked about his media strategy during his recent gubernatorial campaign, Perry said he took “a non-traditional” route by bypassing Texas editorial boards and the local press at times, saying “actually going and talking” to people was a better use of his time.