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Perry Compares Himself to Reagan, Questions Global Warming

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(DERRY, N.H.) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry hit familiar conservative themes at a town hall meeting in Derry, N.H., on Friday: get rid of “Obamacare” and shrink the role of government.

“Over-taxation and over-regulation” in Washington, D.C., need to end, he said, encouraging business growth through tax cuts.

Wearing black cowboy boots, Perry started the night by stepping over an oversized red ax labeled ”ax the tax” so he could sign the “Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire Thomson Presidential Pledge,” committing to “advancing the cause of fiscal conservatism.” As he stepped over the giant ax, Perry said, “I know how to use it.”

Perry soon removed his suit jacket and began taking questions from the room.

Asked about seniors, Perry said that one of their biggest costs was for energy. He said encouraging competition between energy sectors would ultimately drive down the cost of energy and alleviate the most burdensome of costs for seniors.

The most contentious questioning came from one man who questioned Perry’s views on global warming and suggested that Perry had failed to thoroughly address his views in previous debates.

“I’m ready for you this time,” joked Perry.

After some back and forth, Perry repeated his stance that there was no “incontrovertible evidence” that global warming was man-made.

“I’m a skeptic about that,” he said. “I’m not afraid to say I’m a skeptic about that. … Why would I put our children’s future in jeopardy over science that, frankly, is not proven?”

Perry said that his record on the environment in Texas spoke for itself. His state, he said, had cleaned up its air more than any other state in the 2000s and that it was his administration, not the EPA, that was responsible for that.

Perry did not address immigration or border security and stayed away from commenting on any of his opponents.

“We need a Republican nominee who is a clear contrast with Barack Obama,” he said. “Ronald Reagan said it pretty good: Now is the time for bright colors, not pale pastels, and I’m that bright color.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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