Former Texas Governor Rick Perry sounded an awful lot like a candidate for president as he questioned U.S. policies on energy, immigration and education at a Bloomberg-sponsored forum in Houston.
Perry also cited his blue-collar background and military service Tuesday, and said he could win Iowa and Pennsylvania's presidential nominating contests if he runs in what is expected to be a crowded Republican field in 2016.
Whoever wins, it will have nothing to do with "what your last name is," Perry said, referring to pundits' assertions that the White House will be won by another Bush or a Clinton. Instead, the winner will be "who it is that gives us hope that the best days are ahead of us," Perry said.
Perry cited the questions that have been raised over foreign donations to the Clinton family's charitable foundation, and Hillary Clinton's handling of the Benghazi attack while she was secretary of state.
``I can't get past all the drama we see with the Clintons," Perry said.
Perry didn't step all the way in the race, as Texas Senator Ted Cruz did on Monday. He did say that if he were president, he would put an end to the days of big government.
"The heavy hand of government works against you," Perry said. "It kills jobs all too often."
Sounding familiar Republican themes, Perry said he supports lifting the U.S. ban on most crude oil exports, and he wants to secure the U.S. border with Mexico as a prelude to comprehensive immigration reform. He also said TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL pipeline to bring more Canadian crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast should be approved.
"I would get North America in the worldwide energy business in a big way," Perry said. "I think it is a major error we are making not allowing our crude to be used."
He added, "If energy is going to be used as a weapon, we need to have the largest arsenal."
On education, Perry said he disagrees with Washington putting in place policies that tell states what to do. He did say that accountable public schools translate into a skilled workforce.
He also addressed foreign affairs. Perry described Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin as a fool, and said continuing to grow American energy production is the best way to force Putin to change his stance against the rest of the world.
"Mr. Putin, there is going to be massive amounts of American liquefied natural gas coming,'' Perry said.
Low oil prices will continue to challenge producers, and will have a significant impact on Texas shale communities like Odessa and Midland, Perry said. He said the pain will be temporary, and prices will rebound.
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