Watch CBSN Live

Rick Perry: They called Reagan dumb, too

Republican presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry, seen at the Black Hawk County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner in Waterloo, Iowa, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2011. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Texas governor Rick Perry called into the Sean Hannity radio program Tuesday afternoon, where he responded to questions about his intelligence first raised in a Politico article with the blunt headline: "Is Rick Perry Dumb?"

Perry, who has surged in the polls since he announced his candidacy just over two weeks ago, shrugged off the speculation that has become fodder for cable news.

"It's kind of the same old attacks that they made on President Reagan," he said. "The better we do down here in Texas, my bet is the more they're going to attack us and that's fine. I think my record is going to stand the scrutiny of time across the country."

Perry, who made many C's and D's as a student at Texas A&M, turned the attack on the Harvard-educated Barack Obama -- whose transcripts have not been released to the public.

"What's dumb is to oversee an economy that has lost that many millions of jobs, to put unemployment numbers - over his four years will stay probably at 9 percent, to downgrade the credit of this good country, to put fiscal policies in place that were a disaster back in the '30s and try them again in the 2000s -- that's what I consider to be the definition of dumb," he charged.

And he didn't stop there.

Perry stoked the 'book smarts v. street smarts' flames by chiding President Obama for surrounding himself with academics instead of people who've had "real life experience."

"They are intellectually very, very smart, but he does not have wise men and women around him. And I think that's what his real problem is. He has listened to the academics," he said.

During the 16-minute interview, Perry was also asked about the alleged rift between himself and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney - the man he has dethroned as frontrunner for the GOP nomination, according to recent polls.

"Frankly, I don't know Governor Romney well enough on a personal basis," he explained.

The 3-term governor couldn't resist one tweak of his biggest rival, however.

"We were both governors for a period of time - he was just four years in Massachusetts - but, look, this race is not going to be about personalities from my perspective, and it's certainly not going to be personal. It's going to be about records and who can get American working again," observed the Texas governor, who has been in office for over a decade.

Perry and Romney will appear together for the first time during the campaign at a debate next week at the Reagan Library in California.

Perry also told Hannity he does not have a rift with former President George W. Bush, despite reports to the contrary

"I talked to George W. on the sixth of July, so between the Bushes and Rick Perry, there is absolutely no rift at all," he said.