BETTENDORF, Iowa -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry pledged to remake large swaths of the federal government as he previewed a government reform speech he is slated to deliver here on Tuesday.
“Tomorrow I’m going to unveil a plan to uproot all three branches of government and overhaul Washington. It touches every branch of government because they each have contributed to the demise of America,” Perry said.
Among his targets for change: lifetime federal judges “who arrogantly rewrite our laws from the bench,” the permanent bureaucracy of the executive branch which “thwarts the will of the American people to advance a big-government agenda,” and a Congress that “is in Washington too much.”
The governor -- whose verbal gaffes have caused him to drop in recent polls -- told his audience of about 250 Scott County Republicans that he would “fight to end the IRS as you know it today.” The tax collection agency is a frequent target of his on the trail; he called it the “taxpayer harassment agency” in Des Moines just two weeks ago.
“I’m going to fight to overhaul Washington and build a smaller, more humble federal government,” he said.
His attacks on Washington were not limited just to the government. He also railed against the affluent residents in the greater Washington area, saying that “those lobbyists… those overpaid czars and bureaucrats” who live there “haven’t suffered one bit” during the recession.
Perry also attacked President Obama for his comment to CEOs over the weekend that Americans had gotten “lazy” in the global marketplace.
“Mr. President, Americans aren’t lazy, and they’re not soft. Americans do not lack a vision or ambition, we lack leadership in Washington, D.C.,” Perry said. “That’s what this country lacks.”
Though most of the speech was driven by the Texas governor’s darker, anti-Washington remarks, he did joke about the federal bureaucracy -- and his own much-criticized ability to remember all of it in a debate last Wednesday.
“They think the answer to every problem [is], let’s just add a new agency of government,” he said. “And I can remember most of them."