Perry Seeks Foreign Policy Counsel From Graham

Perry Seeks Foreign Policy Counsel From Graham
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As he has worked assiduously over the last couple of years to refurbish his image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential bid, Rick Perry has not been shy about soliciting advice on international affairs from a variety of sources.

Following an appearance in New Hampshire on Thursday morning, the former Texas governor singled out one Republican senator whose input he has been particularly interested in seeking.

Perry had just finished an appearance at a “Politics and Eggs” breakfast at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics—a must-visit stop for any White House hopeful—when he was asked to sign a poster board that previous speakers this year had inked. Among them were Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former New York Gov. George Pataki and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

With his microphone still hot, C-SPAN 2 captured what Perry said next about Graham, who also is considering a presidential run.

“Lindsey is my buddy,” Perry said as he signed the board. “I am a big Lindsey Graham fan. I think he is one of the most knowledgeable people we have on foreign policy, and we need to listen to him. He is a very, very bright Republican senator. He’s carved out his niche, and it is foreign policy.”

Perry told Steven DiSalvo, Saint Anselm’s president, that he had recently sought Graham’s perspective on one particular international hotspot.

“I talked to him night before last and just picking his brain a little bit about what’s going on in Ukraine, in particular,” Perry said. “Putin is a dangerous guy. And this strategy of kind of strategic patience with him I don’t think is wise. Because the theory is that, well, with oil prices being in the tank and he’s got all of these economic problems, and we’ll just outlast him and he’ll collapse. You’ve got to remember the '90s and how bad it got in Russia. It’s not anywhere near as bad as that now because he’s got like $386 billion in reserves.”

Perry continued that he favored arming the Ukrainian military with “lethal weapons” and taking steps to remove Putin’s “SWIFT banking ability”  -- a reference to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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