Gov. Perry on what will happen in Afghanistan

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 12, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, investigators are trying to learn what set off a 30-year-old U.S. Army sergeant, who left his base in Afghanistan in the middle of Sunday night and murdered 16 Afghan civilians, most of them women and children.

The massacre comes just after the outrage over the burning of several Korans by members of the U.S. military seemed to be calming down. And now there are new fears of retaliation. The Taliban is vowing revenge.

White House press secretary Jay Carney addressed the situation today:


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We've been there a long time. And the President has made clear that his policy is designed to allow us to draw U.S. forces down as we accomplish our goals there. And it is a very specific plan. It has timetable attached to it which some take issue with, although you have to wonder why.


INGRAHAM: Joining us now from Austin to react, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who dropped out of the GOP primary back in January and now supports Newt Gingrich.

Governor, yesterday Newt Gingrich was the first Republican on the stump to react to this horrible news out of Afghanistan. And like Ron Paul now, Newt Gingrich says look, this is the most recent incident that indicates that it's time for us to pack up and get out of Afghanistan. Your take on this situation?

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Well, I think this is just further reflection of a President who has a meandering and very soft approach to this entire issue of Afghanistan and Iraq as well. I have been in Afghanistan in particular. He doesn't want us to be there to begin with. I don't think he has the courage to stand up and say we're going to… we're going to withdraw the troops and it's not worth the fight.

So, I think you have this very corrosive effect that's going on from the lack of leadership from this President. When the fact of the matter is we do have an interest there. We need to be supporting that goal of fighting the terrorist element that are there.

Do we need to have 100,000 plus troops? Could we do it in a way that has a smaller footprint with our Special Forces probably, is a better approach to it.

The fact is I think this President's lack of leadership and lack of making the point to the American people about why we need to be fighting the terrorists in their hometowns rather than in our hometowns, he's done a poor job of.

INGRAHAM: Sir, do you agree or disagree with the man you're supporting for the Republican nomination Newt Gingrich, that it's pretty much time to get out of there?

PERRY: Well, if this is the way that we're going to continue to fight the fight and have a President that doesn't have his heart in it, absolutely. I think that there is a conversation that needs to be… that's one of the reasons I'd like to see Newt Gingrich as the president of the United States. Someone who actually has a clear vision of how to deal with these issues, how to drive down the cost of gasoline by having a policy in these areas where petroleum products are very important to the future of America along with a domestic policy that will allow us to open up our federal lands and waters.

That's what Newt's talked about, and that's the reason I'm supporting him, that and along with a real understanding and a support for the 10th amendment to keep Washington, D.C., out of our states.

INGRAHAM: And Governor, why has he only appeared with Newt Gingrich once? I guess you were at the Arizona debate. I saw you there. But I pretty much haven't seen you on the campaign trail with him.

PERRY: Well, we've been very active, both in fundraisers and on… on the phone and other ways that we can be helpful, too. Just being out on a stump is, frankly, a minor part of what a surrogate would be doing. So, we're doing our part, and hopefully, we're making a difference for the speaker.

INGRAHAM: If Newt Gingrich somehow loses in a state like Alabama and maybe ekes out a victory but almost, you know, dead draw with Mitt Romney in his home state, what would you advise him to do at that point? I mean, things are very tight in these polls in tomorrow's contests.

PERRY: Well, they are, and I think that's going to be up to him and his advisors. But from the standpoint of Newt has said clearly that he's going to take us all the way to Florida… and I agree with him that I don't see how any of these candidates are going to have the required number of delegates to proclaim victory, as far as the nominations are concerned.

So, he rightly needs to be talking about the issues that are important to him. I mean, again, I don't think ,outside of Newt, that the candidates are talking enough about the Tenth Amendment and allowing the states to have some protections from our overreaching federal government like we have today, whether it's women's health programs, whether it's our voter I.D. bill, whether it's our Clean Air Act.

INGRAHAM: Let's… yes, let's get into that. The Voter I.D. specifically, Governor, just so we understand what's going on.

Eric Holder today, attorney general, came out and invalidated Texas' voter I.D. requirement. A voter I.D. requirement, by the way, that other states already pretty much have in place. But Texas is one of those states that needs preclearance from the Justice Department, saying, "Your voter I.D. puts a special, an extra burden especially on Latinos,” who oftentimes don't have driver's licenses or it costs $22 dollars, I guess, to get some of the documents that would get you a voter I.D. card in your state.

What's your response to Holder today?

PERRY: Well, I think this is another example of the federal government impinging upon the rights of the states to decide the issues about how they're going to oversee and keep fraud from going on in the voter process. I mean, that's what this issue is about.

We know for a fact that there has been fraud involved in our voting process through the years, and having a voter I.D. is one of the ways to put a stop to that. And the Texas legislature agreed overwhelmingly. It is an issue that is supported on both sides of the aisle. When you poll Texans, they don't want to see individuals taking advantage of a very sacred right, and that is the right to vote.

So having a voter I.D. makes sense. And as a matter of fact, we know that the Supreme Court has ruled on this. And the Supreme Court says you can have a requirement for a voter identification.

INGRAHAM: Do you think this is a political move?

PERRY: So when the Justice Department says you can't do it… it's totally political.

INGRAHAM: To get the Hispanic vote whipped up against Republicans. You guys don't want Latinos voting. Is that what's happening?

PERRY: Well, I don't even think that sells. I mean, Hispanic voters in the state of Texas don't want someone stealing elections either. I think the Democrat voter and the Republican voter in Texas want good, clean elections. And one of the ways do you that is to have a voter identification so that people know who are when you show up to vote. It's pretty simple.

INGRAHAM: Can't get on a plane. Can't get on a plane without an I.D. Can't get on a plane, but you know, you can vote.

PERRY: I don't think you get a library… I don't think you get a library book out of the library here in Austin without one.

INGRAHAM: Governor Perry, great to see you. Thanks so much.

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