Perry: Romney's VP pick won't make much difference
ASPEN, CO. — The announcement of Mitt Romney's running mate won't do much to change the dynamics of the presidential race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday.
Perry said the running mate pick will likely grab headlines for a couple of days before the focus of the race quickly shifts back to the choice between Romney and President Barack Obama.
"There are great and talented people out there, but vice presidential candidates are interesting choices that will probably only make two or three days worth of news, unless they make some huge gaffe," Perry told CNN in an interview at the Republican Governors Association retreat in Aspen, Colorado. "As long as it's not me, I'll be cool."
Perry invoked another famous Texan, John Nance Garner, to make his point.
"I think it was 'Cactus Jack' Garner, who was VP under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who said that being vice president is not worth a bucket of warm spit," he said. "Mitt Romney's vision for America and what he says are what people are going to focus on, not the vice presidential candidate."
Perry also offered his first extended take on the Tuesday's Texas Senate runoff, in which his chosen candidate, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, was clobbered by former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, who was backed by a small army of conservative politicians and interest groups.
Cruz ran a near-perfect campaign, Perry said - one modeled on his own 2010 re-election bid that painted the Obama administration as an overreaching, big-government enemy of Texas.
He said he spoke to Cruz on Wednesday to congratulate him.
"Ted Cruz ran one of the most amazing, well-disciplined focused campaigns that I have seen in my life," Perry said. "He did a great job of articulating his anti-Washington message and just totally penetrating through in very powerful and believable way."
Asked why he backed Dewhurst so aggressively if he held Cruz in such high esteem, Perry cited his decade-long working relationship with the lieutenant governor.
"I am a loyal guy," he said. "I am going to stand and be loyal to people who have been loyal to me. And David was a very good manager. He has done a great job as lieutenant governor. He is a conservative, socially and fiscally. He would have been a great United States senator, but the fact is the Texas people said you know this is the guy [Cruz] that we want. And you know what? Good on 'em."
Perry said he plans to make a decision about whether to seek an unprecedented fourth full term in Austin in June 2013, after that year's legislative session concludes.
"As long as my health and my passion stays up, I have every intention of continuing to offer myself for public service to the people of Texas," he said.
As for the possibility of running for president again -- a prospect freely discussed among some of his advisers -- Perry said it's too far too early to speculate.
"That's way down the road," he said. "We've got to get November 6 over with. Which, by the way, is my wedding anniversary."