The former Texas governor told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that America wants someone who "lives in the real world," adding the celebrity aspect of the race fueled by Trump will dissipate.
"I think Americans want to see somebody who's got the experience running a really big entity—the 12th largest in the world. We're about the same size as Canada or Australia ... and unquestionably, did a really good job," Perry said of his tenure in Texas.
Delivering an economic speech Wednesday in New York, before a pro-business group, Perry said the roots of the 2008 financial crisis began in the 1990s with President Bill Clinton.
Challenging Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, he also told the crowd: "If Secretary Clinton wants to take credit for the 'Clinton economy,' then she must defend the destructive homeownership policies advocated by her husband."
Perry, making his second run at the GOP nomination, said Thursday on CNBC: "If Hillary Clinton is elected president we'll get a third term of Barack Obama, and I tell you I'm not satisfied with 2 percent [economic] growth, In fact, I'm not even satisfied with 4 percent. We can do better than that."
He added he's "incredibility optimistic" about America's prospects. "We're just a few good policies and a leadership change at the top away from the best years America's ever had before."
The boom in North American energy, lower corporate tax rates, smarter environment regulations and a secure border need to be at the forefront, he said.
"In my home state," he continued, "you keep regulation wise and thoughtful and predictable; you have a tax environment that allows people to keep more than they give to the government; you can have a renaissance."
"This is going to be a show-me-don't-tell-me-election," said Perry—arguing that his background and experiences are the right combination for getting American back on track.
According to a Politico analysis, it looks like he'll make the polling cut to be the Fox News prime-time Republican debate on Aug. 6, which will only feature the top 10 of the 17 candidates. (Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore entered the race Wednesday.)
"Bring it," Perry said, confidently—certainly looking for a better showing than his major stumble during a 2011 GOP debate hosted by CNBC in which he could only remember two of the three Cabinet departments he wanted to eliminate.