BLUFFTON, S.C.--Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s enthusiasm for cutting the federal government expanded to include the Interior Department in a radio interview Friday, although he seemed to forget to include Education, a favorite for the chopping block, when asked which federal departments he would cut.
Perry was doing an interview with WTKS 1290, a talk-radio station in Savannah, Ga. When the host asked him which government departments he would cut, he said “Three right off the bat; you know, Commerce, Interior, and Energy are three that you think of.”
Perry notoriously forgot one of the three departments during a Nov. 9 debate in Michigan, leading him to quip, “Oops.” He later recalled that the three he’d like to cut are Education, Energy, and Commerce.
When asked later in radio program whether he’d also cut the Education Department, which he frequently mentions on the stump, Perry said, “Well, your common sense tells you that the citizens of South Carolina, your governor, the Legislature, your school administrators and school board, parents, teachers know substantially better how to educate your children in South Carolina than some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.”
Perry spokesman Mark Miner said after the show that the governor’s answer was in keeping with his philosophy. “It shouldn't be surprising the governor’s talking about another agency that needs to be looked at and cut,” Miner said. “He’s serious when he talks about reforming Washington and going there.”
At an event in Hilton Head just minutes after the radio interview, Perry talked about the need to alter the Interior Department to open up federal lands and waters for energy exploration, but did not quite as far as he had earlier in calling for it to be eliminated.
“I talked about the Department of Interior this morning, an agency that we need to either consolidate or truly rework, where that we open up our federal lands and waters, that we get these agencies consolidated down or completely removed,” he said.
He quickly pivoted to the issue of axing Education. “I have no idea why we have a Department of Education. I mean, why would we send money to Washington D.C. and ask them to tell us how to educate our children? And they skim off a billion dollars for administrative costs and then they pick winners and losers in the states?” he asked the audience, to applause.
When asked by a reporter after the event if he had misspoken in the radio interview, Perry demurred. “We talked about Education as well. Yeah, we talked about all of them. Or we talked about a host of them,” he said.
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