After nearly a week without taking questions from the press, Gov. Rick Perry stood by controversial comments on global warming and U.S. monetary policy as he took a barrage of questions from reporters at the final event of his South Carolina swing.
He also defended his support of a Texas version of the DREAM act while invoking the 10th Amendment when he said it wouldn't work on a national level.
Perry, who earlier this week accused climate change scientists of manipulating information for financial gain, doubled down on his skepticism that manmade phenomena are affecting the world's climate.
"I just happen to believe that the earth's temperature has been moving up and down for millenniums now and there are enough scientists out there now that are skeptical about the reasons for it," he said. "And I happen to be one of those that are skeptical that for us to spend billions of dollars on a theory that is not proven and that you have skeptical science against that is not in America's best interest."
Asked to respond to a Politico story that quoted members of Congress made nervous by his statement Monday that the actions of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke have been "treasonous," Perry said he is simply "passionate" about the issue.
"I'm sorry if I offended a congressman but the fact of the matter is I'm about representing the American people out here. And the American people are really concerned and scared, small businessmen and women are frightened about the monetary policy or the lack thereof with this administration," he said.
Perry also answered a question from Telemundo's Vanessa Huac on two immigration-related issues: Texas's version of the DREAM act (Perry allows children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition but opposes it on a national level) and his policy of allowing police officers to question people on their immigration status, although he said he didn't think Arizona's tough immigration law was right for Texas.
Huac said he had been "contradictory" in his immigration views and asked if he would support comprehensive immigration reform as president.
"Here's what you need to understand about me, please," Perry said. "I am a big believer in the tenth amendment. That state by state they need to make those decisions about how they're going to deal with issues of tuition, whether they allow for tuition increases or decreases or whatever it might be and that state.
"The rest of these issues are the same. I happen to believe with all my heart that the states would be best served by being able to be free to make these decisions by themselves. Whether it's... I didn't think that for the state of Texas an Arizona exact law was right for state of Texas.
"So state by state ought to be the way to do that, not by the federal government one size fits all."
When Huac countered that the Constitution requires the federal government to regulate immigration, Perry said, "I didn't get to that issue, yes. Once we secure the border we can have a conversation about immigration reform in this country. But not until."
The Texas governor's remarks came after a brief meet-and-greet luncheon in Rock Hill, SC, where Perry addressed about 100 people face-to-face at the The Old Town Bistro with an additional 350 crowded into an overflow room.