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Perry: 'If you were too big to fail, you were too big'

JOHNSTON, IA -- Speaking to employees of an advanced agricultural facility here yesterday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry struck a populist, disputing the premise of the phrase "too big to fail," including for sovereign nations. 

"I would never have bailed anyone out," Perry said at a town hall for staff of DuPont-owned Pioneer Hi-Bred. "If you were too big to fail, you were too big."

"I don't care whether you're a country, or whether you're a corporation, or whether you were a small business down on Main Street," he said yesterday. "And I sure haven't seen any small businesses being bailed out by government." 

The comment, which came as President Barack Obama attends a G20 summit clouded by concerns about Greece's debt, was in response to an employee's question about financial regulations.

Perry said of the Dodd-Frank legislation signed into law in 2010: "It institutionalized what they were trying to keep from happening."

He reiterated his claim that government has failed in oversight of the big banks, accusing the two of being "in bed together."

"I happen to think Wall Street and Washington, DC have been in bed together way too long. That's one of the problems that we have in this country, is that there are people who have too much money invested that end up in Washington, DC."

Perry claimed that his pledge to take a "sledgehammer" to the DC status quo is "why the establishment really doesn't like me and really doesn't like my tax plan."

In response to a question about the president's Iraq policy, Perry said he did not necessarily dispute the idea of bringing troops home, but he disagreed with the president's telegraphing of U.S. strategy.

"The issue I have is not with the president's proclamation that he wants to bring our young men and women home. I agree with that. I want to bring them home, too. But to signal to your enemy when you want to bring your troops home is a tactical error and I think irresponsible." 

Perry has previously said that Obama should have worked closely with commanders on the ground to formulate a timetable for withdrawal that should not be disclosed to enemy forces.

A former agriculture commissioner who frequently highlights his rural roots, Perry struck a sentimental tone while speaking to the employees at Pioneer, saying that they can help make America "a leader in food supply, or energy supply, or one thing that I think the world needs a huge supply of: Freedom."