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. BevoTexas

    No to Rick Perry. Be smart people – a long shot for the Tea Party, I know. This man should not be President.

    August 12, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  2. trex

    Not sure how to spell it, seccede, seceded, succedd, seseed, ......................it all means the same, out of the USA for tecas, right teabaggers?

    August 12, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  3. Motoman

    Oops! Anyone that loves George Bush, (who successfully brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy) won't be getting my vote. Really? Another Texan? Texas Presidents have proven over time they can't lead.

    August 12, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  4. big daddy

    God help us all if this man goes so far as to be the next president. Im from Texas and I feel better about our situation compared to the rest of the US but I really dont feel comfortable with any "fiscal conservative" talk. It seems as if we arent spending money on programs that need reform in the way they are administered or we are spending money on kickbacks to help rich politicians get richer. Can anyone out there really lay out a plan and stick to it? I say we as a country write in jessie ventura.

    August 12, 2011 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  5. OpenMind1st

    Now Perry wants to distance himself from GW Bush. Who wouldn't?  GW was one of the worst presidents in American history. 20% deficit under this administration. Invading Iraq to find weapons of mass distraction that didn't exist, declaring "mission accomplished" like a total fool without an exit strategy of any kind. A total idiot. AND NOW you want to elect GW Bush Jr. / religious fanatic?  As God is my witness, you're out of your freaking mind if you believe for a minute north would EVER vote another Texas cowboy into office again. 

    August 12, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  6. NOmorespecialinterestBS

    Another illiterate texan who's bad at basic math... no thank you.

    August 12, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  7. Matt

    Now if this is liberal bias I don't know what is. I haven't even heard Perry's views yet, I don't really know what he stands for yet, anything. The only thing I know about him is he's from Texas and he's evangelical. Don't go comparing him to Bush, we can draw our own conclusions about him. Any moron knows Bush wasn't a true Texan, he was born in Connecticut into a family of East Coast bankers, nothing "Texas" about them except that ranch. Don't go around slapping the Bush name on people when you know it's going to alienate a lot of people. CNN should not be a mudslinging organization or they aren't a true news agency. That's the kind of stuff that happens in a pre-police state, not in our country.

    August 12, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  8. A. Perry Hater

    I wouldn't vote for Rick Perry if he were the only candidate running for President. He has SCREWED the with the funding for our TEXAS SCHOOLS...and then wouldn't own up as to where the alleged money was for public education. He is play roulette with the teachers of TEXAS who don't trust him. He wants to be President, but he can't govern a state worth crap. He creates jobs...then why the shortfall in the buget for education??? Why were the teachers of TEXAS having to lobby and to campaign to keep our jobs. What has he done for the EDUCATION of Children in TEXAS...NOT A DAMN THING....

    August 12, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  9. Joe the Administrator

    CNN, stop the smear campaign...Within a span of 5 articles, you have two that try to portray Perry in a negative light. Are you really that threatened by him? Does Obama really have you that much in the bag?

    August 12, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  10. larry

    Well that's all I needed to hear, not gonna be voting for him

    August 12, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  11. Mike In MO

    "I love George Bush." That's all I needed to see...

    August 12, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  12. DENNA

    Yes. I imagine you do. What you hate is America. All of you GOPers love George Bush and you refuse to even acknowledge that his policies MAY have caused our problems. Oh no. You say it is all President Obama's fault. You try to pretend that President Obama ruined this country in just two years and that the previous ten years had no bearing on anything that has happened. Wow . . . . What color is the sky in your world?

    August 12, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  13. Goober

    Two men – one brain-maybe.

    August 12, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  14. Aaron

    A steamy romance novel should come out of Perry's love for Bush. I wonder which one was the woman in the relationship.

    August 12, 2011 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  15. jack279

    Good Luck George Bush III

    August 12, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  16. Ramrod

    Another President from Texas means we will have another war. Get ready for it.
    Lyndon Johnson: Vietnam (I'll show Ho-Chi-Min)
    G H Bush: Iraq / Kuwait
    G W Bush: Afghanistan / Iran – Mission Accomplished

    August 12, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  17. Bill B.

    Has the American public gone insane. We do not need a President who bases his decisions on a belief system because that is all it is. We need someone, whatever party, who deals with the realities and facts of the the country and the world.

    August 12, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  18. Lorraine

    OMG ' please another cowboy ? I think Riick Perry is so far out with religion ' right wing politics dosnt mix he would not be a good President ' after I seen his prayer service clips I thought I was watching they'all thought they were at the last supper lol/ Vote Dem 2012!!

    August 13, 2011 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  19. Matt

    Anbody got any whata, cause I'm feelin Firsty!!!!!!!

    August 13, 2011 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  20. mark alworth

    The writer states that if elected, Perry will be the "second Texas governor in a row to do so". Last time I checked president Obama wasn't governor of Texas! This is what passes for journalism? Are there any editors paying attention?

    August 13, 2011 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  21. Joe

    We talk about the shifting positions taken by politicians over time as if it mattered, as if they had some cherished, unyielding beliefs behind them. But really they're no more than actors playing a succession of roles. No different than a quarterback who throws the ball on one play and runs with it on the next play. Watch them fake to the left or right to get past the primaries then head for the middle as they close in on the end zone. Pure opportunism. To whatever degree they're consistent it is simply to build brand image.

    August 13, 2011 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  22. Matt

    Here comes the name calling. I have noticed that people tend to blame the GOP because they haven't fixed the country in the 9 months they have been in the house, saying that they refused to compromise on the debt ceiling (cue flashback of health care reform where the democrats locked out the GOP during the debate, publishing the law and saying that we have to pass it to find out what is in it!?). People don't realize that they (GOP) inherited a mess from the democraps and it is going to take some time to fix (sound familiar?). Also, please read the article of all the Corporations leaving California (and taking thousands of jobs with them) because of the crazy taxes and things that are going on in that bankrupt state. Taxing the rich (Corporations and small business) means that you are taxing the people who work for them. I work for a corporation and if the company had to pay more taxes, the first thing they are going to try to cut to save money is cut our pay and our benefits and furlough employees. In a company of 30,000 people, not everyone makes $250,000+/year, maybe 5% of the people here do, and they are the ones making the decision on where to cut... think about it.

    August 13, 2011 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  23. TB

    One of the questions that we should be asking is this: Has any 2-bit, 3rd-world dictator ever gotten on the wrong side of Rick Perry's "daddy"? Which foreign country is he going to want to have our military invade and occupy in order to, er ummmmm, "protect our freedoms"?

    August 13, 2011 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  24. Big A

    I wonder if they will dig up that old video of PERRY telling that state trooper "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM" when he was pulled over for speeding. Lol classic. I thought Tony Sanchez had the 2002 gubernatorial election in the bag.

    August 13, 2011 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  25. Republicans are stupid

    Two peas in a fake pod...hey, Parasite, it's good to know that someone still loves little Georgie, the Destructor...

    August 13, 2011 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
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