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Perry on Morning Joe: "I pray for Obama every day" (but with an asterisk)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry gives a thumbs up to his new book, Fed Up!, during Friday's edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe. Photo: Ed Bark

Fresh from stomping opponent Bill White in Tuesday's elections, Texas Gov. Rick Perry wasn't much for messing around during his book-touting appearance Friday on MSNBC's gabby Morning Joe.

His tie was tightened to the hilt and his gray suitcoat buttoned to the max while he sat down next to host Joe Scarborough and assorted other panelists in the show's New York studios.

"Don't get deflected from your goal," he said when the talk didn't quickly turn to his reason for being there. "I mean, we're gonna talk about my book here in a minute, Fed Up! And I'm not gonna let you get deflected from my goal here, which is to talk about this book."

He said this unsmilingly, and without any twinkles in his eyes. And he regularly relied on two standard issue preambles for any sandbagging politician -- "with all due respect" and "the fact of the matter is."

Scarborough, a former Republican congressman who appeared at rallies for George W. Bush's presidential candidacy while employed by MSNBC, is still mostly on board with his party's positions. But he's given himself some squeeze room, too.

"You can be a conservative and still not root against the president of the United States, right?" he told Perry for openers. "My grandma taught me to pray for the president."

"I pray for Obama every day," Perry said, neglecting to insert the presidential courtesy title that Fox News Channel anchors still reserve for "Governor" Sarah Palin during her paid analyst appearances.

"Every day?" Scarborough rejoined.

"I pray for his wisdom," Perry clarified. "And to open his eyes."

Perry said he wants the door shut on the so-called "Obama Care" health package, which will cost Texas $27 billion per year. At least that's the figure he initially threw out before immediately down-shifting to $2.7 billion dollars in the next breath. "So that's a budget issue," he said. "A big budget issue for us."

The governor also said that the secession talk he entertained during the early stages of his campaign was by and large a media concoction.

"The fact of the matter is we have a great country," he said. "And we're going to stay in the Union."

Perry buried White by a 55 to 42 percent margin while towing the conservative line. He said it doesn't bother him that some states have elected moderate Republicans because, after all, "I couldn't get elected dog catcher in California."

He also referred to "one of those little states up there" after initially confusing Vermont and New Hampshire.

"What a Texan!" Scarborough exclaimed.

The full title of Perry's book is Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington. But might he have ambitions to wind up in Washington himself via a 2012 presidential campaign?

"It is not on my radar screen. I have no interest in going to Washington," Perry said, noting that he wouldn't make fun of "little" Northeastern states such as New Hampshire if he had other intentions.

Former president George W. Bush also has a new book out, which he'll be referencing on NBC Monday night during a one-hour interview (7 p.m. central) with Today show host Matt Lauer.

"George W. Bush will go down as a great president," Perry said. "He kept us safe."

Perry ended his Morning Joe activities by flashing a thumbs up sign for his book. He wasn't exactly a charmer but clearly had his priorities in order.

***60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft risks being perceived as President Obama's caddy.

He'll interview Obama yet again on the Sunday, Nov. 7th program, with CBS billing their sit-down as the president's "first one-on-one, post-midterm election interview."

This will be at least the fifth one-on-one exclusive between Kroft and Obama. It all began in February 2007 during the very early stages of his presidential campaign. Kroft and Obama also sat down in February 2008, November 2008 and March 2009.

Clearly a comfort level has been established. But is it too close for comfort? Kroft has asked some pointed questions during these sessions. But isn't it time that someone else -- at CBS or elsewhere -- gets to participate in one of these exclusives?