Rick Perry: Shutting down government to defund Obamacare not a good option

Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge, and Jordyn Phelps
Power Players

The Fine Print

With a potential government shutdown looming in less than a week, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said it would be “nonsensical” for his fellow Republicans to support any effort to bring government to a halt over the health care law.

“I don't think it's a good option,” Perry told “The Fine Print.” “There's still time to sit down and try to fix Obamacare.”

In an interview late last week, Perry stopped short of calling his fellow Texas Republican, Sen. Ted Cruz, wrong for leading the charge on Capitol Hill to defund the Affordable Care Act, but said it would be more productive to work toward putting “things into place that can fix Obamacare, like health savings accounts, like personal responsibility programs, giving states the flexibility to come up with programs that fit their populations.”

The Texas governor, who announced in July that he won’t run for re-election, said he’s leaving the door open for a possible presidential run in 2016.

“Absolutely, it’s an option,” Perry said. “That will take care of itself sometime in the future.”

Perry went on to say that he believes Republican prospects of winning back the White House will be stronger if the party's next presidential nominee is a governor, rather than a candidate from the ranks of Congress.

“Governors have to make decisions," he said. "Listen, I totally respect the Senate and House of Representatives and what they do, but I think Washington has become too Washington-centric.”

As for his failed presidential campaign in the Republican primary of 2012, Perry said he thinks voters will give him a second chance. Though he admitted that the moment when he famously said “oops” during a televised debate after forgetting the name of a government agency he was calling to defund still runs over in his head “from time to time.”

“It’s always a painful thing, but all of us have had brain lapses … and I put it behind me and go on about it,” Perry said. “It happened. You know, it may happen again.”

Perry is spending much of his remaining term as governor traveling around the country and encouraging businesses to move to Texas. He has already made trips to Maryland, California, Illinois and New York, ruffling the feathers of some of the Democratic governors in those states along the way.

But Perry defends his tactics.

“I'm a big believer in competition, and I think that the coach of the Maryland Terps goes outside of Maryland to recruit players and I look at this as no different,” Perry said.

For more of the interview with Perry, including why he thinks Republicans were “too harsh” on the issue of immigration in the last presidential campaign, check out this episode of “The Fine Print.”

ABC’s Alexandra Dukakis, Michael Conte, Wayne Boyd, and Barry Haywood contributed to this episode.