- Associated Press - Thursday, March 12, 2015

BEDFORD, N.H. (AP) - Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was back in New Hampshire on Thursday, touting his ability to compromise but singling out Iran as an exception.

Asked at a business breakfast whether he would be able to work with a divided Congress as president, Perry, a Republican, said that his record of working with Democrats as governor would serve him well in Washington.

“Governors don’t have the luxury of just having a conversation, giving a speech and walking away,” he said at the Politics & Eggs lecture series event. “There was not one big thing that happened in the state of Texas - not tort reform, not education reform, not those big budget issues - that was done with just Republicans.”

But when the next audience member asked about the letter Republican senators recently sent to Iran’s leadership, Perry said some issues are too important for compromise.

“That’s a really bad example of finding a place we can work together, because there are some things so important, we can’t compromise our principles,” he said.

The letter, signed by 47 Republican lawmakers and sent this week, warned that unless Congress approved it, any nuclear deal Iran cut with President Barack Obama could expire once he leaves office. The move drew criticism from the White House, with Vice President Joe Biden dismissing it as “a dangerous mistake to scuttle a peaceful resolution” of the Iran nuclear issue.

On Thursday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called the letter a sign of “the collapse of political ethics and the U.S. system’s internal disintegration,” according to the official IRNA news agency.

Perry said he would have signed the letter and argued Obama is “naively miscalculating the intentions of a brutal regime.” In a statement issued later, he said he is concerned that the president will circumvent Congress by bringing an agreement to the UN Security Council.

“While the president shapes and directs American foreign policy, the Senate deserves a say on major arms control agreements - especially one of this consequence dealing with Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” said Perry, who again emphasized his willingness to reach across the aisle on numerous issues, just not Iran.

“I think Democrats and Republicans want to get to the same place, but sometimes we have real different paths to get there,” he told business leaders at a Concord law firm.

Perry dropped out of the 2012 presidential race soon after finishing sixth in New Hampshire’s Republican primary. He has yet to declare his plans for 2016, but since leaving office in January, Perry has been ramping up his political operation and traveling to early voting states. Last week, a handful of his former aides and allies launched a super PAC that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on his behalf.

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