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Perry’s Colorful Tongue Takes National Stage

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – In the words of Gov. Rick Perry, secession was one scenario on the table for frustrated Texans. The BP oil spill? Might have been an act of God instead of corporate errors. And if the Federal Reserve puts more money in the U.S. system, as Perry told voters in Iowa this week, you could chalk it up as a treasonous act that would be treated “pretty ugly” back home.

No, that wasn’t on the same level as his famous interview signoff, “Adios, mofo.” But Perry’s just warming up.

Just four days after launching his GOP presidential run, the man from Paint Creek, Texas, already is showing off a colorful tongue. The 61-year-old with maybe the most famous jogging-while-armed story ever — “Don’t attack my dog or you might get shot … if you’re a coyote” — may emerge as the most quotable candidate in the Republican field.

But will that hurt as well as help him?

The governor’s mouth may come across as amusing to some Texans who have grown accustomed to “Perryisms” over his decades in public office. Now, however, he’s on a larger stage with a brighter spotlight. Will his quips be a plus — something for voters to identify with — or a vulnerability in the campaign?

Obama said Tuesday he was inclined to cut the governor “some slack” since it was so early in his run. The president was asked on CNN about Perry’s suggestion that military members would respect the Texan more than him because Perry served in the military and he didn’t.

“I think that everybody who runs for president, it probably takes them a little bit of time before they start realizing that this isn’t like running for governor or running for Senate or running for Congress,” Obama said. “You’ve got to be a little more careful about what you say.”

Not everyone was so understanding about Perry’s latest comments.

“Inappropriate and unpresidential,” tweeted Tony Fratto, a Republican who worked at the Treasury Department and in the White House under President George W. Bush.

That was his quick verdict after Perry said at a campaign appearance Monday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be committing a “treasonous” act if he decided to “print more money to boost the economy.” Perry said such action by the Fed would amount to a political maneuver aimed at helping President Barack Obama win re-election.

“If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas,” Perry said, responding to a question from the audience.

He stood by that comment later, telling reporters on Tuesday in Dubuque, Iowa: “I am just passionate about the issue, and we stand by what we said.”

On Monday, Perry also said he would be a president who was “passionate about America — that’s in love with America.” Asked whether he was suggesting that Obama didn’t love his country, Perry said, “You need to ask him.”

Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs hit back Tuesday.

“The statements that Perry makes are remarkable in that just two years ago, the governor of Texas openly talked about leading Texas out of the United States of America, and now this campaign has caused him to profess his love to the United States,” Gibbs said during an appearance on MSNBC.

Gibbs added, “Any day now Rick Perry will probably ask to see the president’s birth certificate,” planting the notion that Perry would stoke falsehoods that Obama was not born in the U.S.

Former President Bill Clinton put it another way this week, dismissing Perry as a “good looking rascal” whose policies are “crazy.”

Perry never advocated Texas actually would break away from the United States at a tea party rally in 2009, but he did suggest that Texans might get so fed up they’d want to secede at some point.

In the decade that Perry has served as the longest-running governor in Texas history, he’s had more than a few memorable remarks.

Following the BP oil spill last year, he used the term “act of God” to describe the disaster, then later defended the comment as a legal term to emphasize his point that nobody knew what happened. Ending a television interview in 2005 — he says he didn’t realize the station was still broadcasting — Perry famously shot a wry smile toward the camera and signed off with what became a Texas catchphrase: “Adios, mofo.”

His joke in June about an official whose name sounds like Jose Cuervo, a brand of tequila, being a perfect fit for the state’s alcohol and beverage commission fell flat to a ballroom of Hispanic lawmakers. When an American tourist was allegedly gunned down in Mexican waters last summer, Perry drew criticism for asking Mexican President Felipe Calderon to call him within 48 hours to say the body had been found, “or they’re not looking hard enough.”

Even Perry has acknowledged that some of his beliefs might be a bit out of the mainstream for a presidential run. As the polls closed on Election Day 2010, when Perry would be elected to a third full term, he told The Associated Press that the ideas laid out in his new book were proof that he couldn’t seek the White House. He called for scrapping Social Security in his book “Fed Up!” and compared the program to a Ponzi scheme. He’s suggested states would do a better job than the federal government managing Medicare.

“Because when you read this book, you’re going to see me talking about issues that for someone running for public office, it’s kind of been the third rail if you will,” Perry said last summer.

But political observers say that even when it looks as if Perry is veering off script, he knows how far to take it.

“I think there is a fire burning with the base of the GOP, and Rick Perry knows how to fan the flames,” said Mark McKinnon, a political consultant who advised George W. Bush’s campaigns. “The key will be to see whether he can keep the fire from burning out of control in the general election.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. Helen says:

    I do hope that most people know that Mr.???Perry does not speak for the whole state of Texas. How he got elected is amazing to me. His ego is as big as Texas.

  2. Rod says:

    As a left leaning independent thinks to the no compromise tea part faction I wish Ron Paul were our governor.I don’t believe he is Presidential stock,but he is a decent and honest man.Something tricky ricky perry,as he is known in these parts,is not.

  3. Simon James says:

    Once Perry starts talking about how important it is to reward corporations and special interests and how foolish it is to worry about working people will America know the REAL Rick Perry.

    1. Shut Up, Hippie says:

      LOL. Right – like he’s EVER going to say that.

  4. ilvrw says:

    Any bets on how long it takes RP to suggest the US secede from the UN? Maybe his drug company will benefit if he gets ALL American teen girls their REQUIRED shots. And now the Trans Texas Corridor will become the Trans American Tollway. We can hire the “out of work” teachers to supply the grueling labor for this, therefore providing jobs as promised.

  5. JB says:

    I’ll take two minimum wage jobs over NO jobs. As far as the UN goes, I wish we would pull out of it!! And, in spite of having teachers in my family, since when did teachers become the “sacred cow” that they can’t be touched when the budget needs to be balanced. There’s so much waste in public schools, just like government programs, maybe they will learn to live within their means as well and actually teach our children something. It wouldn’t hurt the schools to get back to the basics either.

    1. Native Texan says:


      1. upchkn says:

        I’ll second that Amen!

  6. Giorgio says:

    Perry or anyone will be a better president than president Obama. At least you know where Perry, Bachman, or Romney stand on any issue, but one never know where Obama stand. He talks, promise and doing other nothings. None of his campaign promises passed. He is the biggest liar. Perry may not say that he hates America, but I could say without doubt that he hates America and white people.

    1. JB says:

      Perhaps you meant Obama hates America? Just asking…

  7. Ilene Jacobs says:

    Yep, stick another ignorant Texan like Perry in office and turn the world opinion back to ground zero in thinking how ugly the Americans are. He got into office the same way the Shrub did, like an inch worm. Palin might even look better, which is a stretch, when up against Perry.

  8. Joe says:

    This is CBS, the Katie Couric station. It’s nothing more than a slam against Perry and like most anything CBS or Channel 11 does shouldn’t be taken seriously. Think about it, they lead most newscasts with a Dallas Cowboys story.

  9. evans says:

    It is what it is. Perry is a phony liar. He promised the state of Texas he was not going to run for President. All the time knowing he was going to run. I thought a REAL MAN was suppose to honor his WORD! He’s a complete idiot.

  10. Really Tired says:

    Rick Perry opens his mouth and removes all doubt that he is an idiot and if this is the best that the Republicans can find, God help us all. As far as citing Bill Clinton, Mr. Liar, Liar Pants on Fire should keep his mouth shut as far as I am concerned. He has NO credibility with me at all. All the while Obama is traveling around the country in buses that cost over 1 million dollars apiece. Looks like the government is cutting the fat to me, how about you? Who is paying for the gas and who the heck paid for the buses in the first place? Politicians, go figure. Say one thing and do something totally different.

    1. upchkn says:

      You paid for some Canadian to “trick out” owebama’s latest ride. Doesn’t that leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling?

  11. Cole Younger says:

    Pray Perrry dont make president ,,,,,,He speaks with forked tongue on top of being a jerk

Comments are closed.

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