Q: You jokingly mentioned in your speech Friday that running for President as the front-runner was the most "exhilarating three hours" of your life. But in all seriousness, how did your run for President effect you as an individual and as a governor?
A: The campaign made me again realize the true greatness of our country. The accents, geography and economies of each state I visited were often unique, but the work ethic, faith and energy of the American people were the same.
There's a reason why most of the GOP's nominees have been on their second or third attempt before they win the nomination. It's a tough process. The best preparation is to go through it, whether or not you are successful on the first try.
Q: How has your faith in God influenced you, particularly as a public figure?
A: As spiritual beings we are meant to live in relationship with our Creator and with one another, and the happiest moments I've ever experienced are when I am in communion with God and in community with others. He knows you by name; you're never alone, even when you feel like it, and He doesn't require perfect people to execute his perfect plan. God uses broken people to reach a broken world. The mistakes of yesterday say nothing about the possibilities of tomorrow.
All of us have the right to speak our mind. As a citizen and an elected official, I believe America must continue to be the world's leading advocate for freedom speaking the truth to adversaries and dictators and in keeping with our democratic values.
Q: What surprised you the most in the Republican primary, and is there anything you would have done differently?
A: I haven't spent much time on analyzing the race. Ultimately I think we just didn't give ourselves enough time to plan and prepare for a national race. Six weeks is not enough. If I do this again -- and I might -- we will get a good strong head start.
Q: Does the Supreme Court's ruling on the health care law, particularly in regards to defining the law as a tax, positively or negatively effect Republicans this fall?
A: Freedom was frontally attacked by passage of this monstrosity -- and the Court utterly failed in its duty to uphold the constitutional limits placed on Washington. Now that the Supreme Court has abandoned us, we voters and citizens must take action at every level of government and demand real reform, done with respect for our Constitution and our liberty. I kind of felt like I was watching that old movie "The Godfather" and the American people looked the Godfather in the face and he said, "I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse." And that offer is, You're going to buy my insurance, and if you don't, I'm going to tax you. That is just unconscionable. ObamaCare is bad for the economy, bad for health care, bad for freedom. Americans have made clear their overwhelming opposition to its convoluted, burdensome and overreaching mandates.
Q: What's your greatest concern on the Supreme Court's health care law ruling from a policy side?
A: The loss of personal freedom and the massive federal overreach into our lives and wallets.
Q: Would you ever consider running for president again?
A: I very well may run for Texas governor again in 2014, and I sincerely hope running for president again in 2016 isn't an option, because our country cannot afford the re-election of this failed president. If by some unfortunate chance it is, I will seriously consider it. Most of the Republican nominees of the past several decades ran and lost before running and winning the nomination. I made a lot of friends and learned a lot on the presidential campaign trail, and that experience would come in handy if I decide to run again in four years.
Q: To candidates from the local level and beyond, what's your best piece of advice?
A: Be principled, energetic and prepared.
Q: What are your thoughts on Israel, particularly in connection with its current relationship with the United States?
A: The Obama policy in the Middle East has been naive, arrogant, misguided and dangerous. Israel is our oldest and strongest democratic ally in the Middle East and has been for more than 60 years. Israel's security is critical to America's security. We must not forget it was Israel that took out the nuclear capabilities of Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007. In both instances, their actions made the free world safer.
Today, the greatest threat to the security of Israel and, by extension, a threat to America, is the Iranian government developing a nuclear arsenal. One thing is clear: We must stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Economic sanctions must be tightened and increased and all options must remain on the table to stop a brutally repressive regime from acquiring a nuclear capability.