Texas Governor Rick Perry's job creation record came under fire Monday, as rival Mitt Romney said Texans benefitted from blind luck more than Perry's policies and fellow Texan Ron Paul said the Lone Star state's debt has nearly tripled on Perry's watch.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, whose frontrunner status has been challenged by Perry's August entrance into the race, conceded that there are "some wonderful things that Texas has going for it that the nation could learn from."
But, he argued, "I think Governor Perry would agree with me that if you're dealt four aces that doesn't make you necessarily a great poker player."
Those four aces, he said, included "zero income tax, low regulation, right to work state, oil in the ground and republican legislature."
"Those things are terrific," he said.
But, he added, job growth in Texas has not been exclusive to Perry's tenure.
"There has been great growth in Texas," he said. "Under Ann Richardson, growth was under two percent a year, George Bush three percent a year. Those are all good numbers. Texas is a great state. If you think that the country is like Texas going swimmingly well, then somebody who has done that is just terrific. But if the country needs a turnaround, that's what I do."
"I was going to say you were doing pretty good until you got to talking poker," Perry fired back at Romney. "But the fact is the state of Texas has led the nation. While the current resident of the White House is overseeing the loss of 2.5 million jobs, Texas during my period of governor has created over a million jobs."
Rep. Ron Paul, a fellow Texan, was quick to "put a little damper" on Perry's claims.
"I'm a taxpayer there. My taxes have gone up. Our taxes have doubled since he took office," Paul said. "Our debt has gone up nearly triple. So no, and 170,000 of the jobs were government jobs."
"I would put a little damper on this, but I don't want to offend the governor because he might raise my taxes or something," Paul added.