Texas Governor Rick Perry sits down for an interview with Melissa Clouthier and me to discuss the SRLC, the future of conservatism, and the message he delivered to Republican leadership at the conference. Just as with his speech, Perry emphasized the need to keep competition between the states as laboratories for policy. “States that have good polices … those are going to be the states that people are going to move to,” Perry says, and points out that Texas is among the fastest-growing states for good reasons. “That’s the place where there’s more liberty, more freedom, than any other state.”

Will Texas stay that way? Perry clearly thinks so, but he’d like to get a little more competition. He points out that Bobby Jindal is trying to put Louisiana in position to knock Texas off the throne, and Haley Barbour is doing the same in Mississippi. What he really wants is a federal government that stops strangling innovation and success with top-down measures that takes all the money and leaves states in a completely subservient — and ultimately redundant and obsolete — position.

Pay attention to the non-denial denial on Perry’s potential presidential aspirations. Melissa asks Perry whether he will try changing the dynamic by running in a national campaign in the near future. Perry sidesteps the question (he also requested to have his name taken off the straw poll ballot) but again emphasizes that the change really should come from the states. I asked him about the challenge he issued to the GOP establishment and whether he was surprised by how few such challenges got issued at the SRLC, and his answer there is interesting, too.