Outgoing Gov. Rick Perry gives a final 'adios' to ABC-13's Ted Oberg

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In a final interview as governor, Perry talks about his legacy, Texas' economic climate and more (KTRK)

On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Perry will move out of the historic mansion he's called home since 2000, when he took over the post as previous Texas governor George W. Bush moved into the White House.

He went on to be Texas' longest serving governor, winning the the seat in his own right by defeating Laredo businessman Tony Sanchez Jr. in 2002, besting three major opponents in 2006 -- former Democratic Congressman Chris Bell, outgoing Republican state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn and country music singer and humorist Kinky Friedman -- and easily winning re-election in 2010 against former Houston mayor Bill White.

And as Perry leaves Texas' top job, the security detail that's been his shadow all that time fades away too.

And for the first time in a decade and a half, he will have to drive himself.

But don't worry, motorists.

"You know, I think I will be a better driver," Perry said. "I was not a good driver, so there was not a high bar set by my driving skills. But I drove the other day... From time to time I'll drive, fill the car up with gas, go to the grocery store, what have you. But what I noticed the other day is that I'm substantially more cautious."

But despite his claims to be a more cautious driver at 64 than he was at 50 when he took office, Perry will not be zipping around Austin anytime soon.

That's because of his travel schedule, which includes key presidential primary states such as New Hampshire and Iowa.

His campaign staff additions indicate that he will soon be back in the race for president. Perry's frequent briefings by national policy leaders and visits from potential big-monied campaign donors at the governor's mansion before he departs are also indicators.

Indeed, Perry has all but announced his presidential run.

"If you still have something left to give, you better go give it," he said.

And does he?

"I do," he said.

He's got some baggage, though, including major stumbles during his attempt at a 2012 presidential run -- his 'oops moment' becoming a national meme -- and a pending court case that could mean prison time.

Perry was indicted last year for coercion and official oppression for publicly promising to veto $7.5 million for the state public integrity unit, which investigates wrongdoing by elected officials and is run by the Travis County district attorney's office.

The indictment stems from an ethics complaint from the liberal Texans for Public Justice, which has a history of peppering Republican leaders with ethics complaints.

The left-leaning group took issue with Perry's threatening a veto if the county's Democratic district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, stayed in office after a drunken driving conviction. Lehmberg refused to resign and Perry carried out the veto.

The indictment isn't a worry for Perry, though. He believes the charges will soon be dismissed.

"Do I wake up in the middle of the night sweating it?." he said. "No."

Perry is reluctant to pick a singular legacy for his time as Texas' governor.

He says he is leaving the state in good shape, although he is keenly aware that the plummeting price of oil will have dramatic effects on a booming Texas economy.

"Would I like to see a bit higher price for oil? Yes," he said. "But this state is going to manage this substantially better than it did in the 1980s."

For the sake of whatever his legacy will be, Perry has to hope oil rebounds without damaging the monstrous job growth Texas has seen during his time in office.

Thirty percent of the nation's new jobs were in Texas during most of that time.

Some call it the Texas miracle.

As he leaves Perry said he wants that to turn-of-phrase to change.

"It's not a miracle," Perry said. "I've told people time and again: It's not a miracle It's a model."

The model, he said, is based on low taxes, low regulation, and lawsuit reform.

A personal note from Ted:

On a personal note, let me say it was a unique assignment to cover Gov. Perry.
I've shot rifles with the governor, seen the country with him, I've been there for winning re-elections and presidential primary defeats.

We've shared moments we'd both love to relive and one, that, well, Perry likely wishes never happened: The "Adios Mofo" moment.

Perry's off-color sign-off to me in 2005 when he thought the cameras were off is a phrase that became an Internet sensation and will likely follow Perry forever.

We joke about it now, though and at the end of our last interview with Perry as governor, he gave me a more heart-felt goodbye.

"Let me just kind of wrap this up by saying, 'Adios, my friend,'" he said.
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