Perry-Romney Battle Is On

Tuesday, 16 Aug 2011 01:38 PM

By Dan Weil

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The battle is on between Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney and the newest campaign entrant, Rick Perry. The Texas governor shot back Monday at Romney’s assertion that his business experience gives the former Massachusetts governor a better understanding of the economy than Perry and most of the other Republican candidates, Politico reports.

Rick Perry, Romney"I think understanding how the economy works by having worked in the real economy is finally essential in the White House and I hope people recognize that," said Romney, who co-founded private equity titan Bain Capital.

"I respect the other people in this race. But I think the only other person that has that kind of extensive private sector experience besides me in the Republican race is Herman Cain. I respect Herman Cain, but I also think it's helpful to have that government experience that I've had," CNN quoted Romney as saying.

Perry didn’t take that talk lying down. Campaigning in Iowa Monday, he said, “I was in the private sector for 13 years after I left the Air Force. I wasn’t on Wall Street; I wasn’t working at Bain Capital. But the principles of the free market — they work whether you’re in a farm field in Iowa or whether you’re on Wall Street,” Politico reports. Perry helped run his family’s cotton farm.

Successful economic policy is “being able to work with your Legislature to get the right tax and regulatory and legal system in place, and we done that in Texas,” he said.

Perry did admit to a policy mistake as governor Monday — his decision to approve mandatory use of a controversial vaccine for a cancer-causing sexually transmitted disease, Politico reports.

“I made a mistake on that,” Perry said on Iowa radio, later terming it “an error in not having a conversation with the people of the state of Texas.”

In 2007, Perry issued an executive decision authorizing mandatory human papillomavirus vaccinations for sixth-grade girls. The Legislature overturned the law a few months later.

On Monday, the governor lauded lawmakers for their action. “I agreed with their decision. I don’t always get it right, but I darn sure listen,” he said.

Conservatives objected to his initial stance for weakening parental authority, implying approval of teen sexual activity and pushing his own agenda.

On another issue, Perry said Saturday that the government must devote a high priority to stamping out illegal immigration from Mexico and the drug-related violence exploding in the border area, The Boston Globe reports.

Perry said up to 1,000 National Guard troops and non-lethal drone planes should be used to deal with the 1,200-mile Texas-Mexico border. “You can secure it, and the way you do it is you put boots on the ground — a substantial number of boots on the ground,” he said.

Perry pointed out that drones already are used in the area — for practice by Air Force pilots who will guide them overseas. “Why not be flying those missions and using that real-time information to help our law enforcement?” Perry said. “Because if we will commit to that, I will suggest to you that we will be able to drive the drug cartels away from that border.”

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