Perry: Wall Street bailout biggest theft in US

By the Associated Press | December 19, 2011 | 1:47 PM EST

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a campaign stop at the Chickasaw Event Center in New Hampton, Iowa, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

MANCHESTER, Iowa (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry is calling the Wall Street bailout "the single biggest act of theft in American history.

Campaigning in Iowa on Monday, Perry sought to cast himself as an outsider who would cut Washington's influence. He painted Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, as status quo politicians who should worry Republicans voters.

Perry says the country needs a president who understands Main Street and is not beholden to Wall Street.

With just two weeks before Iowans begin assessing the GOP field, Perry says the values he learned in rural Texas have shaped his views. He says "no one was going to bail out a dry-land cotton farmer" and no one should have bailed out Wall Street during the 2008 financial crisis.