This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," September 21, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: He is the newest candidate to jump into the 2012 GOP primary race but he is
widely considered now the front-runner. And Texas Governor Rick Perry, he'll
join me in just a moment. He has spent the past few weeks attacking "The Anointed
One" on everything from Israel to the economy. But tomorrow, he will turn
his attention to the eight Republicans who will join him on stage at the GOP
debate in Orlando, we'll be there, hosted of course by the Fox News Channel.
So, what is his strategy heading into tomorrow night?
Joining me now for an exclusive interview, the Texas Governor, GOP presidential
candidate, Governor Rick Perry. Governor, welcome to this program. Good to see
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sean, it's good to be on
your program again. Thank you, sir.
HANNITY: Well, we appreciate you being back. All right. It looks like things
are getting heated. Last couple of debates, and a little back and forth even
today and the last couple of days between you and Governor Romney. Is it
personal or is it business?
PERRY: It is business. Listen, I just think it is important for the people
of America and certainly in the Republican primary to see the clear differences
that the candidates have and we need to nominate someone who will have a stark,
clear difference between the Republican nominee and President Obama.
And I think I am that person who can clearly delineate the differences. We
don't need to nominate Obama-lite. We don't need to nominate someone who's
going to blur the lines between President Obama and our nominee. This election
is about the future of America, about who is going get America back working
again. And I think I can handle that part of the job creation side of it as
well as anybody that is going to be on that stage tomorrow night.
HANNITY: All right. Well, do you think that some of the other candidates --
I mean, that's a pretty rough term. If you are going to say that maybe some of
the other candidates are Obama-lite, I mean, I think that's the worst thing you
could call me. Hannity, you are like Obama. I don't think I'd like that.
PERRY: Well, I think it is important that we have a clear distinction
between any of the candidates. And when you take a look at what Mitt did from
the standpoint of Romneycare in Massachusetts, you are going to have a hard
time finding a difference between Obamacare and Romneycare. I mean, that's just
the facts. And there's no way around it. The facts are the facts.
HANNITY: All right. But do you not -- he's made a distinction. A federal
mandate and what the states do on their level. And he's explained it to me in
interviews and he explained in the last debate that you were you in. Do you not
buy that distinction?
PERRY: Well, I think the real clear distinction is that he stood up and said
that on "The O'Reilly Factor" that -- one of your Fox programs --
that it was the right thing for Massachusetts. But it wasn't the right thing
for Massachusetts. The Beacon Hill study that was out just this last week said
it cost 18,000 jobs in Massachusetts alone. And the total cost of Romneycare
was $8 billion. Now, think about what that will mean across the country if
Obamacare goes into place if it cost 18,000 jobs, basically the same type of
program. And he said it was the right thing for Massachusetts. It wasn't the
right thing for Massachusetts. It was a job killer. And we need to repeal it,
in its entirety.
HANNITY: Well, by the way, and for the record, he supports repealing Obamacare,
which look, I'll let you guys get into that tomorrow night. Let me ask you
because I have in front of me and I actually printed it out. The issue keeps
coming up and I'm sure it will come up in tomorrow's night's debate, is about you,
your position on Social Security. You used the term Ponzi scheme.
But it goes a lot deeper than that. If you actually read it in its full
context in the book here, and you conclude obviously that this is going
bankrupt. You walk through the history of Social Security. People wouldn't
receive it until they are 62, at a time when most people are expected to die at
60. That was actually a surprise to me, I didn't know that.
So, I guess the question is, where are you with Social Security now? There
are some people that think that you're basically saying it ought to be
repealed. You seem to be giving a different message in these debates. And I
think it might be good if you can clarify what you want to do with Social
Security right now.
PERRY: Yes, sir. Well, the most important issue is that anyone who is on
Social Security is approaching Social Security age, made plans for the
retirement with that Social Security in mind. It will be there for them. And
for anyone to say that it is different than that is -- you know, that's the old
tactic that the Democrats used back through the years to try to scare the
senior citizens, and that's irresponsible.
If anyone on that stage that's a Republican and wants to be a Republican
nominee, is trying to scare our seniors with this issue that somehow or
another, I'm going to do away with Social Security. That's not appropriate. It
Here's what we know. That the program as it is set-up today is not going be
viable in the future for our young people. And those kids know what a Ponzi
scheme is, it is you are paying into something and it is going to be the ones
that pay in first, and there's not a pay-out for them when their time comes.
Kids know that.
Twenty-five to 36-year-olds know that that program is not going to be in
place. So, let's have a grown-up conversation. Republicans have identified that
Social Security is wrong. A lot of Republicans, including Paul Ryan, have said
the same thing that it is broken and it has got to be fixed and I agree with
them. I agree that this is a Ponzi scheme for our young Americans, or for that
matter mid carrier professionals.
So, are we going to raise the age at which people become eligible for it?
Are we going to allow the young Americans out there that are working to have
private sector account-type options? All of those are appropriate conversations
to have. But the key is, those that are on Social Security today, those that
are approaching the age of being eligible for Social Security, you don't have a
thing in the world. We made a sacred pledge to you that it's going to be there
and it's going to be fully funded. Don't buy into the scare tactic. Let's talk
about how Republicans are going fix Social Security for the future of this country.
HANNITY: All right. I think this is an important point. It's interesting
because if people would actually read your book, they'd find a lot of -- I
think it goes a lot deeper than what happened here. You actually said now,
"If you say Social Security is a failure," which you did say when you
wrote the book as I have just done, "you will inherit the wind of
political scorn." All of which predictably has happened. "Seniors
might think you want to cut their benefits that they paid for. A new culture of
do something, it is now trumps any constitutional restraint and feeds the
political beast in Washington."
So, I hear what you are saying. You're going to save it for those that are
on it, those that are reaching Social Security age. You say it is a sacred
promise. What about for future generations? Would you consider another system
or do you want to just fix that system?
PERRY: I think we ought to have a conversation. Is there a better way? Are
private accounts an appropriate thing for a young American to say, you know,
what? I'd rather manage this account myself. I'd rather put the dollars in
there, manage the account myself. There may be some other young workers who
say, you know what? I don't want to mess with that. I would rather the
government run it. I know, it may not be as much money but I don't want to have
to worry with it. I don't want to mess with it. I don't want -- whatever it
Do we need to means test it? Do we need to talk about phasing in, if you
will, the age upward? So that, I mean, obviously, we are going to live into
substantially older age than what was expected when Social Security was first
put into place.
HANNITY: Yes. I'm going to live a lot longer than liberals would like,
The life expectancy -- this was a good point too. The life expectancy when
they created the program, as you pointed out was 60. Your benefits didn't kick
in until 62. So, this was from the very beginning not designed to extend, you
know, decades out into people's lives.
So, would you like to have a discussion about just how to get this straight is
options, choices for younger people, save it for the older people. And I want
to make sure I'm clear here. Means test perhaps, put that on the table. Raising
the retirement age on the table. Opt-out, is that an option for people,
PERRY: Well, opt-out is an option for some state employees in some states,
and we talked about that in the book as well. That Galveston,
Brazoria-Matagorda County. And Bobby Jindal over in Louisiana, they've had some
good luck with that type of program -- with state employees, you have to define
very clearly, with state employees or retired state employees. That's what we
are talking about here. Those ought to be some conversations that we have. This
ought to be about giving people options.
And I'm all for that. And I think the American people understand that now.
You know, Marco Rubio, he talked about this in his campaign. Johnson talked
about this in his campaign. Both of those individuals in the United States
So, you can have this conversation. It no longer is that third rail that no
one can talk about. As a matter of fact, I think Americans appreciate people
being honest and upfront with them about Social Security.
HANNITY: You know, it is interesting, I hope you are ready for this. Because
if you were to get the nomination. Remember when Paul Ryan talked about
Medicare. They had a Paul Ryan lookalike throwing grandma over the cliff. So,
are you prepared for the demagoguing that comes along with this?
PERRY: I've been doing this for a pretty good spell running three times in
Texas for governor. We've caught a lot of javelins, so, you know. But I think
Americans are just ready for someone to look them in the eye and say, listen,
here's the truth, here's the straight-up about what is happening in our
country. And they want someone that can get in this country back working again.
And I'm not talking about just working to make government work. I'm talking
about getting the private sector back, creating the jobs and the wealth in this
country, so that we can truly get America working again.
HANNITY: All right. We'll going to have more. Governor, thanks for being
with us. We'll continue, more with Governor Perry, and he's a GOP presidential
HANNITY: And we continue now with my exclusive interview with the Texas
Governor, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry.
Governor, let me ask you this. We have the worst housing market since the Great
Depression. The longest period of sustained unemployment since the great
depression. We've got 46.2 million Americans now living in poverty. Nearly one
in four children living in poverty. What has -- ultimately, if you win this
nomination, you are going to be running against President Obama. Make your case
to the American people, what would you have done differently? What did he do
wrong? And how do you get us out of this?
PERRY: Well, the biggest issue that is going on out there is we are spending
money we don't have on programs we don't want. Obamacare is a great example of
it, forcing a program that the American people don't want. And now we've read
it and we've looked at it. So, repealing Obamacare would be one of the first
things that I would do within my power either with executive order, obviously
working with the legislature to get rid of the rest of it.