Tulsa, Oklahoma — Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry said Monday there would be no need for a stimulus program if he's elected president because his economic plan will "get America working again."
The Texas governor, said the nation's "entrepreneurial spirit" would create jobs and that his tax policies would allow Americans to keep more of what they earn.
"No. 1 is don't spend all the money, you can figure out what that means," Perry said at the Tulsa Press Club event also attended by U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. "You won't have stimulus programs under a Perry presidency. You won't spend all the money."
Perry said his tax system would be "as light on the job creators as you can be and still deliver essential services. He also called for a more predictable legal system "that doesn't allow for over-suing."
As he has often said on the stump, Perry told the crowd that Washington, D.C. — not the country — is in decline and that he wants to prevent the federal government from being a burden.
The candidate didn't attack President Barack Obama directly during his remarks about the economy, instead only offering himself as an alternative.
"We have seen a clear thirst for leadership in this country," Perry said.
In the oil-rich Southern Plains — the Tulsa oil boom was so big a century ago that huge containers had to be built around town to hold the overflow — Perry called for additional development of the U.S. nuclear energy industry so the country can become as energy independent as possible.
Earlier Monday, Perry's focus was foreign policy. He said American military commanders should control U.S. military forces abroad, rather than "multilateral debating societies." He also said at the Veterans of Foreign Wars' annual convention in San Antonio that the United States should take the fight to the enemy rather than wait for them to strike at home.
Perry said American commanders must lead the nation's troops, and that the United States should renew its commitment "to taking the fight to the enemy before they strike at home," as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches.
He drew sustained applause from the hundreds of veterans in a cavernous, concrete-floored convention hall when he said no one but U.S. brass should be leading American troops in missions abroad.
"It's not our interest to go it alone," he said. "We respect our allies and we must always seek to engage them in military missions. But at the same time, we must be willing to act when it is time to act. We cannot concede the moral authority of our nation to multilateral debating societies, and when our interests are threatened American soldiers should be led by American commanders."
Perry did not elaborate on what kinds of world bodies he was referring to, but the Obama administration has backed NATO-led airstrikes in Libya.
The Libya operation is being run by a Canadian general from a NATO headquarters in Italy, but an American officer is the top NATO commander — and always has been.
Perry also cautioned that the U.S. should avoid a foreign policy of "military adventurism."
"We should only risk shedding American blood and spending American treasure when our vital interests are threatened, and we should always look to build coalitions among the nations," Perry said.
Perry was invited to speak on behalf of the convention's host state before he formally entered the presidential race Aug. 13. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a fellow GOP candidate, is scheduled to address the VFW convention Tuesday.
An Air Force veteran, Perry flew C130s from 1972 until 1977, though he never saw combat. Earlier this month in Iowa, Perry said one of the reasons he's running for president is to ensure "every young man and woman who puts on the uniform of the United States respects highly the president of the United States."
Perry avoided such hot-button sentiments Monday but suggested that the Vietnam War showed what could happen when soldiers are "called to war that our leaders were not prepared to win because they were not prepared to use the full force of the military of the United States."
U.S. forces were fully engaged in Vietnam for years and Perry noted Monday that more than 58,000 Americans were killed, saying it "stands as a stark reminder of the cost of war."
But he also said the conflict proved, "a president should never send our sons and daughters into war without a plan to win and the resources to make that possible."
"It's a dangerous world that we live in today," Perry said. "Our enemies often don't wear uniforms or swear allegiance to a particular flag but instead to an ideology of hatred."
After a speech that took about 10 minutes, Perry shook hands with a line of VIPs and was heading off the stage when he had to be called back to receive a set of ceremonial flags from the VFW.
The convention runs through Thursday.
Associated Press Writer Will Weissert in San Antonio contributed to this report.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.