Pledging to lead by example, presidential hopeful Rick Perry of Texas says he will take only half of the $400,000 annual commander in chief’s salary if elected and he called on Congress to do the same.
“I think you lead by example,” said Perry, appearing Friday on “Your World With Neil Cavuto” on Fox. “Washington congressmen need to have their salaries cut in half. They need to spend half as much on budget. They need to be in Washington half time.”
The longest serving governor in America also shot back at House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi who turned Perry’s invitation to debate his planned overhaul of Congress into a one-liner.
In declining the offer, Pelosi mocked Perry’s recent memory lapse at a GOP debate, when he couldn’t recall the third of three federal departments he wanted to eliminate.
“I’m going to be in Portland in the morning. I’m going to be visiting some of our labs in California in the afternoon. That’s two. I can’t remember what the third thing is I’m going to be doing,” said Pelosi as to why she couldn’t debate the Texan.
Perry was not joking when he took Pelosi to task amid questions as to whether she benefitted from inside trading.
Pelosi was granted access to the Visa IPO back in 2008 while the House was considering credit card legislation that would hurt the credit card industry. Her initial $220,000 investment went up $100,000 in two days.
The insider trading probe gained steam with the publication of a new book, “Throw Them All Out,” by conservative author Peter Schweizer, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and one-time aide to Sarah Palin, who details alleged abuses by politicians on both sides of the House and Senate.
The book was heavily featured on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” with reporter Steve Kroft going after leaders of the two parties in the House on camera. Pelosi denied she had done anything wrong.
“I don’t doubt why she wanted to say no” to the debate, snapped Perry. “This insider trading — this straight up corruption. When a member of Congress can take inside information and invest and enrich themselves.”
Perry urged Congress to pass a law against such conduct in the future. “I think they ought to pass a law right now that if you’re in Congress, or you’re in the United States Senate, and you use inside information to enrich yourself, you go to jail — period,” he said. “That’s what the American people are sick of.”
He called the balanced budget amendment that failed to pass the House by a margin of 261-165 on Friday a “weak bill” without teeth and pressed for the notion of a part-time Congress, similar to the legislature in his home state, which meets every other year.
“Let them go have a job. Let them go back into their communities and spend time with the people they represent. That’s what we do in Texas,” explained Perry. “We pay our legislators $600 per month. They come into town, do the business and they go back and they live under the laws that they pass.”
Despite his poor debate showing, Perry says there’s plenty of time to make up lost ground. “We’re a long way from having the election over with,” he said. “I will guarantee you — Iowa, South Carolina, even New Hampshire — those states are wide open.”
Perry also said that he is prepared to support the GOP nominee regardless of who wins the nomination.
“I’m going to support the Republican nominee. That isn’t even a question,” said Perry. “Our country is on the precipice of a huge economic disaster and foreign policy wise none of our allies know where America is going to be on any given day. We’ve got huge issues facing this country today and [Obama’s] in Burma talking about relations with a country that — I’ll be real honest with you — I don’t know what America’s interest is there.”
He also criticized the president for delaying a decision on the 1,700-mile pipeline from Alberta to Texas until after the 2012 election so a study can be carried out with respect to its impact on an environmentally sensitive area of Nebraska.
“That Canadian oil is going to go one of two ways,” said Perry. “It’s either going to go west to China or it’s going to go south to the United States. That’s not even a question about where that ought to be going. Our national security is in jeopardy with this president.”