SMITHSVILLE – Texas Gov. Rick Perry chastised President Barack Obama on the first day of the government shutdown for failing to negotiate with Congress despite being willing to agree to talks with the president of Iran.
The governor said Tuesday that he’s “stunned” the president and Democratic leadership in the Senate have not been willing to sit down with Republicans in the House and hash out a compromise that would avert a government shutdown.
“The president will negotiate with the president of Iran, he will negotiate with other people, so why not sit down with the House and the Senate and find a solution so we go forward?” Perry said ahead of a speech in support of sending former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan to the U.S. Senate.
“Nobody’s happy about it. I think they can all stand in a circle in Washington, D.C., and point to the left and say it’s their fault,” he said. “In the business of governing you have to negotiate, you sit down and very rarely do you get the whole loaf of bread.”
The Texas governor referenced a recent phone conversation Obama had with Iranian President Hassan Routhani. It was the first time leaders from the United States and Iran have had direct communication since the 1979 Iranian revolution.
“I’m suggesting anybody that stands up and says ‘I’m not going to negotiate’ has got a problem,” said Perry, stopping short of placing all of the blame for the government shutdown stemming from the fight over the Affordable Care Act squarely on Obama.
Perry traveled to the Garden State to stump for Lonegan, who polls showed Tuesday morning has closed the gap behind Newark Mayor Cory Booker to within 13 points.
When asked his opinion of Booker, Perry said he didn’t have one to share.
“I don’t. I’m here to support Steve and his views and policies to get Washington back working together,” he said, adding, “I think a rubber stamp for Barack Obama is not necessarily what – not only New Jersey does not need – but America doesn’t need.”
Lonegan told supporters if a government shutdown is what it takes to get the country back on track, then so be it, he said.
“I’m really sorry that it’s inconvenient that our national parks are closed,” Lonegan sound to a spirited crowd of about 100 people.
“You know what, if it takes a government shutdown to put America back on track to get tough, let’s do it,” he declared.
Perry is scheduled to appear at two other events for Lonegan today.