AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Rick Perry says life experience is more important than book smarts in a president, telling NBC News he's not the same candidate who ran in the Republican primaries in 2012 and that he can win the White House in 2016.
"Running for the presidency's not an IQ test. It is a test of an individual's resolve. It's a test of an individual's philosophy. It's a test of an individual's life's experiences," Perry said in an interview at the Governor's Mansion, which he's leaving as his term ends. "And I think Americans are really ready for a leader that will give them a great hope about the future."
Perry said he probably has less "margin for error" after he famously couldn't remember one of the federal agencies he said he'd ax during a November 2011 Republican debate. But "I think, over the course of the last two years, people realize that what they saw in 2011 is certainly not the person they're looking at at 2013, 2014, 2015," he said.
Perry also said he'd have no problem convincing Republicans that he can win in 2016, saying potential backers "are pouring in here to sit down with us, to talk to us."
"The policy individuals that have said 'listen, we want to come help you become even better prepared as we go forward' is already the answer to that," he said.