Perry on his predecessor:  'I love George Bush'
August 13th, 2011
09:43 AM ET
2 years ago

Perry on his predecessor: 'I love George Bush'

Washington (CNN) – If Rick Perry is elected President, he will be the second Texas governor in a row to do so. So it's natural that Perry will be asked the George W. Bush question time and again in the upcoming campaign: how is he different?

During Perry's run for re-election in 2006, Perry told a local PBS station in Austin it's perfectly fine to draw distinctions.

"I don't think that there is anything wrong with respectfully disagreeing with someone who I highly admire. I love George Bush. I think he's a great President and I support him," Perry said in the interview.

The question is still coming up to this day. Not whether he's running for president. But whether he's running from George W. Bush.

"Actually I called him on his birthday," Perry said to Time Magazine, fondly remembering a chat he had with the former President last month.

Perry insisted there's no bad blood with the man he replaced.

"Not from my perspective. And certainly not between George W. Bush and I," Perry said.

But go to YouTube and it's complicated. Four years ago while Perry was speaking on behalf of Rudy Giuliani's failed campaign for president in 2008, the Texas governor slammed his predecessor.

"Let me share something with you. George Bush was never a fiscal conservative. Never was. Wasn't when he was in Texas," Perry told a gathering of Republicans.

This was not an isolated incident. In his run for re-election in 2006, Perry ran an ad that blasted Washington on the issue of illegal immigration.

"If Washington won't protect our border, Texas will," the ad said.

He was later asked in that PBS interview in Austin which Washington he meant. The Republican controlled Congress or the GOP controlled White House?

"All of them. And the fact of the matter is every one is complicit in not addressing this issue. And it's not like we haven't asked them," Perry said.

Former Texas Democratic Congressman Martin Frost says it's all vintage Perry, a tough Texas political pro who should not be underestimated.

"Rick Perry is willing to say and do whatever is required. And if it means throwing George W. Bush under the bus, he'll do it," Frost said.

Frost argues Perry has a bigger Bush problem.

"If you close your eyes and listen to Governor Perry, he sounds like George W. Bush. He drops his "g's." He uses some of the same word choice."

They both grew up in West Texas. Both have ranches. Perry grew up on one in the tiny town of Paint Creek. Bush has Crawford.

But Perry has gone his own way in Austin to the satisfaction of the state's conservative voters. Re-elected three times in '02, '06, and '10, he is the longest serving Governor in Texas history.

James Henson, the director of the Texas Politics project at the University of Texas-Austin, says Perry governed to the right of Bush, slashing state budgets and courting tea party activists who can be sharply critical of the former President.

"All of that was an effort to rebrand, if you will, Texas as Rick Perry's Texas rather than George W. Bush's Texas. And looking forward to a possible national campaign, clearly Governor Perry is going to need distance from President Bush," Henson said.

Perry isn't the only one doing the distancing. When Perry ran for re-election last year, he lost the endorsements of President George H.W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney who both supported Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in what was a bitter primary challenge.

"We have no doubt Kay has the right vision and certainly the right values to help Texas build an even better tomorrow," former President George H.W. Bush said in his endorsement for Hutchison.

Perry won anyway.

Former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says any bad blood is not going to play out between "the principals," referring to Perry and his predecessor.

"I think at the staff level there's a certain tension between staffers for George W. Bush and Governor Perry's staffers," Fleischer said.

Recall that then-candidate Bush was often compared to his father. It's natural for closely-aligned politicians to create a little separation.

"Part of running for office is establishing your identity. Sometimes you reinforce that which came before you. Sometimes you differ and I suspect we're going to see both of those with Governor Perry," Fleischer said.

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Filed under: 2012 • George W. Bush • Rick Perry • Texas • TV-Anderson Cooper 360
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Both are complete idiots.

    August 12, 2011 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  2. Casual

    DUDE....I cannot believe he said that?!

    Is he kidding, is trying to just set himself up for doom? Why would even say that out loud?

    This guy is a nut case, pure and simple... he just looks like a slime ball on a infomercial trying to sell me Jesus for 9.99, but wait, I get two for 9.99 if I pay shipping and handling for the free item!

    We did the GW Bush thing, and look when that bird brain got us, not only were we the laughing stock of the world, but, he was behind the wheel and let Wall Street create this crisis we are still in. And becuase he was a bird brain, he would never understand what his failures were even if one explained it to him,

    Bush will for sure go down in history as our worst EVER and EVER president that America had to endure.

    Besides, there isn't enough of Jesus Freaks to vote for this guy in America.

    August 12, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  3. Patrick from Minnesota

    Since when does this guy think endorsing the least popular President in American history is a good idea when it comes to winning elections? That whole state must be high or drunk on something.

    August 12, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. chris24

    that should be the end of him. what a dope.

    August 12, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  5. Newmoon

    I'll bet he does! 'Ordained by God', anti-intellectual, gets by on his 'charm' and brings little else to the table! Bush is Perry's role model!

    August 12, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  6. cindy

    Ah little weed hopper...therein lies the problem. George Bush is no longer president and hasn't been since 2008. The other problem is the poor quality of education many of the repub-teaparty hopfuls have....don't know history,english,geometry or math but excell in half truths.I forgot the biggest problem is they all forgot the pledge to Americans but bow down to a pledge to a man and corporation we did NOT elect. No. I refuse to give you MY vote.

    August 12, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  7. Jersey

    Bush and Perry = Dumb and dumber, y'all.

    August 12, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  8. NYC REPUB

    Obama 2012

    August 12, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  9. The Lone Okie

    The First President, George Washington turned down a third term, because he didn't want to become a King. He wanted to go back to Virginia and just be a citizen. Rick Perry is a three term governor, that tells me he is selfish, crooked or both. He also said, Texas could be its own nation and Rush Limbaugh was his heroe. I hope the media doesn't give this clown a pass.

    August 12, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  10. BB

    America, you are looking at Bush the sequel.

    August 12, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  11. Independent Texan

    If you loved George II, you`ll love Rick, too. --– But before you vote, talk to a Texan. --He grew up in Paint Creek, TX ,about 50 miles from me. Mentioning his name will not endear you to the citizens.

    August 12, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  12. Michael

    Birds of a feather...

    August 12, 2011 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  13. RINO Bil

    So it looks like our choice will end up being: (A) Four more years of George W. Bush or (B) Four more years of Barack Obama.

    August 12, 2011 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  14. Adrianne

    Thanks Jim... like it's not perfectly obvious by your title and photo choice that you are trying to imply that Perry is another G.W. for all those rabid bush-hating people out there, despite the content of your article. He's clearly different from Bush as you point out, but yellow journalism is going to say and do whatever it wants. And I'm not a Perry fan so before future commenters start jumping all over me, I just want to say that I'm sick and tired of "journalists" writing their personal bias and then calling it news.

    August 12, 2011 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  15. Kellie Kennsington

    It's a GREAT TIME to BUY LOW!

    Google the term "SIMPLE STOCK CASH" and click on the #1 ranked site! Go to the Penny' Stock section to find out what the rich do not want you to know.

    August 12, 2011 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  16. dave4dems

    Every time I hear Rick Perry speak, I feel like I'm listening to George W. Bush. If Perry is elected, we might as well have welcomed Bush back in too. To me, Perry and Bush are one in the same and God forbid Perry or any of the other GOP Presidential Candidates win in 2012.

    August 12, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  17. NVa Native

    One in the same – both squinty eyed half witts who can't speak english and live in a fasntasy world.

    August 12, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    Gack!

    August 12, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  19. Richard

    The fact that Perry is so closely associated with Bush makes it next to impossible for him to win the presidency. Period.

    August 12, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  20. David

    Why would we want to go back to what get us in this mess?

    August 12, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  21. TEXman

    Perry is certainly bit bush. But he is a pandering republican who tries to / does appeal to the redneck ./ christian evangelical /gots lots on money mentality in Texas. He is a pandering snake oil salesman. Just say no and save the heartache .... I have watched him morph from a democrat to a republican to a closet tea bagger. just say no to perry. ....... and if u are a religious sort .......... remember that pandering Perry has prayed for rain and economic prosperity ...... maybe GOD has send a message these past two weeks ............ just say no to pandering perry

    August 12, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  22. Grow up already...

    What... Another one?!/! AGAIN?!? He's just the Republiturd's freshest pile. If Sarah announces, the flies will be all over her next and Ricky will be forgotten... Like all the others.... And she's the most idiotic of them all!.

    August 12, 2011 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  23. rob

    here we go, the spin masters. get a life and stop the lies and the silly reporting. Obama is a one termer and even Puttin will replace him if he ran against him.

    August 12, 2011 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  24. c s saenz

    Tighten your girdles, guys. Perry will run a really tough campaign. Personally, I will not be surprised if he wins the nomination.

    August 12, 2011 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  25. John

    That right there Is all I got to here, We don't need another BUSH or anyone like him. And Rick Perry should be put In jail for Treason for wanting to take Texas out of the Union. He should be to most of American people he Is a trader, and trying to start the Civil War up all over again. And he not a True Christian ,because a True Christian would believe all man are Created Equal. And Rick Perry doesn't he a RACIST.

    August 12, 2011 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
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