Bill Clinton on Perry: He's a 'good-looking rascal'
August 15th, 2011
04:51 PM ET
7 years ago

Bill Clinton on Perry: He's a 'good-looking rascal'

(CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton was paying attention Saturday when Texas Gov. Rick Perry formally launched his presidential campaign

"I got tickled. I watched Governor Perry announce…for president," Clinton said Monday. "He's a good-looking rascal."

Clinton's comments, recorded in a video by the New York Observer, came in a speech to the International Association of Fire Fighters in Manhattan.

The former president had some choice words for Perry's platform on the need for smaller government.

"[Perry] said 'You know, I'm going to Washington to make sure that the federal government stays as far away from you as possible-while I ride on Air Force One and that Marine One helicopter and go to Camp David and travel around the world and have a good time'," Clinton said. "I mean, this is crazy."

Perry and other Republican presidential candidates have repeatedly said the federal government needs to have a more limited role in Americans' lives.

And while Clinton said every person-"even public employees"-can think of a tax that's too high or a regulation that doesn't make sense, he implied that the U.S. government is not the source of all problems.

"There is not a single solitary successful nation on earth today that does not have both an effective government and a good economy," Clinton said. "And in the world we live in, you can't have them unless you have both."

Filed under: 2012 • Bill Clinton • Rick Perry
soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. Johnny Five

    That's because they belong to the same secret societies and do the hokey pokey in the moonlight together. But hey, the American people obviously like having governments that are run in the shadows right under the noses. I'm just in the minority of those who know the darks secrets.

    August 16, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. Dobro

    So much for his pompous claim of creating jobs in TX. We have the highest percentage of hourly workers earning minimum wage or less - and our median household income has fallen to 47th in the nation.

    August 16, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  3. hingedlwnb

    There you have it Ron Paul supporters. Your man will never be considered electable. Not because he isn't smart enough but because he isn't pretty enough. I guess it's only a matter of time before presidential debates have talent and swimsuit competitions.

    August 16, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  4. Sniffit

    "What he and the legislative body did was set the state up in such a way that it was a business friendly environment and those businesses created jobs. "

    Let's get something straight, mmmmkay? When conservatives and Teatrolls and people like Parry say "business friendly," that is a euphamism for "labor exploitive." Millions of minimum wage jobs will not fix this country's problems nor create a healthy economy or societal structure. Not even close. It simply represents the GOP's wet dream of siphoning all the wealth off to a chosen few who view themselves as the entitled, rulership-class Masters of of the Universe whose "hard work" constituted being born on third base, thinking they hit a triple and then turning around and sucking the life and labor and value out of their middle-class employees' lives because they "earned it" simply by virtue of owning. It's no wonder they love Parry...dude's wrinkly face sort of reminds me of Skelator. Maybe he'll choose Cant-or for his running mate so we can have the single most snide and self-satisfied looking VP in history to go with President Rascal.

    August 16, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  5. orange88

    I live in TX and have for 30 years. There's much to object to about Perry, but not his religion or his appearance. The fact is he represents the no-nothing wing of the GOP. He didn't do so well in school, and he regularly places his political buddies in charge of universities, in positions they are unqualified to hold. He just did it again (check the news about TX A and M, his alma mater). He is a crony capitalist who will reliably hand out favors and positions to his team. This is not different from Obama by the way; just look at whom he appoints! Just a different set of cronies. Perry has an extremely narrow view of the world, plus, I think, some kind of need to prove he is smarter than his grades indicated. As for the rumors about his sexual behavior, there have been rumors like that floating for years but emanating exclusively from the ultraliberal press and web. Believe me, Perry has enough enemies in TX that if there were substance, somebody would have put it out there by now.

    August 16, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. marty

    Uh Buzz If Texans Know Perry Is A Moron Then Why Did A Majority Of Them Vote For Him Myself I Voted For Hutchison I Would Vote For Bachmann

    August 16, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. Sniffit

    "I would rather have a low paying job than no job at all."

    That's precisely what they want you to think and feel. Why do you think they've held middle-class salaries stagnant since the Reagan era (error)? Why do you think we suffer cyclical recessions? I can tell you right now it's not solely because "oopsy, we forgot how the economy works." When you lay it all out on the table and connect the dots, Wall Street, the ratings companies, the insurers, the financial industry...they all knew EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE DOING AND WHAT THEY WERE RISKING. But that's ok., right? Because the more people who throw in the towel and take the attitude of "please, I'll take whatever table scraps you're willing to throw've got everything and I've got nothing, so I simply must bend the knee and accept my life of servitude and subsistence living," then the more they'll be encouraged to repeat it all over again.

    August 16, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. Kathleen

    Focus on the great economy under Bill Clinton. Report his handling of that. CNN, please DON'T waist readers' time on these trivial remarks.

    August 16, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. MikeT

    Perry's America: A low paying menial job for everyone, no healthcare for anyone and mandatory bible classes and employer worship sessions will be held IF your employer allows you to take lunch. Perry will pass a law that the voice of Mitt Romney saying "Corporations are people too" be played from loud speakers 24 hours a day. Meanwhile, tours of Sarah Palins house will be encouraged where the star attraction will be to try to see Russia from her house.

    August 16, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    "It's funny to watch you Liberals shift your attacks from Canidate to Canidate"

    Just curious ... what's a Canidate? ( a new GOPer colloquism, perhaps ... as in TeaPer inbred ... ? )

    August 16, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. Sniffit

    "Perry's America: A low paying menial job for everyone, no healthcare for anyone and mandatory bible classes and employer worship sessions will be held IF your employer allows you to take lunch. Perry will pass a law that the voice of Mitt Romney saying "Corporations are people too" be played from loud speakers 24 hours a day. Meanwhile, tours of Sarah Palins house will be encouraged where the star attraction will be to try to see Russia from her house.'

    Yep, and don't forget to take your Soma.

    August 16, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. SaintM

    Dominican Mama 4 Obama: I love your posts–and I agree with every one of them.

    Clinton's comments are true, and as some you have pointed out, he may have gotten lucky with the internet/dotcom flourishing in the 90's, he did have the fiscally responsible "pay as you go" policy which kept deficits down and allowed the start up companies to keep reaching reaching for and experimenting with technology while creating jobs. John Kerry would have continued that policy if his presidency had not been "fixed/stolen" by Karl Rove. If a Republican were in charge during the 90's, all good spending judgment would have been out the window and we would have had a much different outcome.

    I'll say this a thousand times if I have to. It is NOT the leader we need to replace, we need to replace congress.

    August 16, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. Richard

    You Reps. and Dems. sound like your parties. We can't just pick a person cause he is for gays or not, rep.or dem. WE DON't HAVE That kind of time PERIOD! We need the best for getting this country rolling NOW. Stop fighting each other and get ready to pick! Our future is depending on it!. Theressome you can like from both and some you just hate. But dam this country needs us to make the right call here. So does are children. Just vote the right person for the job. Don't screw up people or the next world language may maybe Chinese.

    August 16, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  14. Dobro

    Under Perry's watch:

    #1: Texas Youth Commission Covers-up Systemic Child Abuse
    #2: Child Abuse, Neglect Continue Under Republican Rule
    #3: Scandal at Texas State Schools
    #4: A.G. Abbott Wasted Tax Dollars on Partisan Election Year “Voter Fraud” Witch Hunt
    #5: Perry’s Political Cover-up Continues at Forensic Science Commission
    #6: TEA and SBOE: Republicans Fail Texas Children
    #7: Texas Workforce Commission Burdens Texans with Debt, Delays Benefits
    #8: Perry’s HHSC: Bad For Texans’ Health
    #9: TxDOT’s One Billion Dollar Math Error Takes a Toll on Texas Taxpayers
    #10: PUC Allows Criminals to Manage Prepaid Electric Providers

    August 16, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  15. FedUp

    LOL! One rascal to another! Problem with Perry is he's got nothing else to recommend him! Bottom-rung intelligence with rigid ideology. Wait, this sounds familiar! GWB?! Is that you?

    August 16, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  16. keeth

    When considering how good-looking Rick Perry is, consider how dead Cameron Todd Willingham is. Google his name.

    August 16, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. Unfortunately-RSA

    Hahahahahaha u Americans,make me laugh...Under normal circumstances,a country won't fail or prosper because of its “President”,a President is just an individual who happens to lead but that doesn't mean u should always criticize an individual and be quick to play your blame game. A country just like any soccer game/sports will go through different seasons,if this season doesn't favour you it could be the players problems but we are to quick to insult the coach...Any fool can lead and become successful if he came on the right time and an intellectual will fail if the situation is bad already

    August 16, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    What's the big deal with all you libtards and Perry's alleged womanizing??? I thought all you moral-less clowns ate it up? I mean, Anthony Weiner was no big deal right? And Eliot Spitzer was no big deal? And Kitty-Man from Oregon(?) that just resigned, no big deal right? And Bill Clinton getting hummers iin the Oval office was no big deal! Or are you angry that he's just a normal straight guy? It's hard to keep up with all your fake outrage these days.

    And if any of this smear were true about Perry, then the Democrats would have rolled it out against him LOOONG ago. Really, don't you clowns have anything better than this tripe? Pretty pathetic.

    August 16, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. Blagg

    want a solution to this political impasse? here is my compromise. Democrats: let the republicans make abortion illegal. in return. Republicans: shut the hell up and get out of the goverment. you are a big part of the reason the world hates us.

    August 16, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  20. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    I have never been one to lavish praise on President Shrub, but back when he was in charge in Austin, stuff got done, there was decent, well-paid job creation, the education system was being fixed and Dallas was a contender. Since Bush-Lite took over, real jobs were lost replaced my low-paying McJobs, foreclosures are up, the infrastructure has fallen apart almost as fast as the education system, and Dallas is the joke of the NFL. Add to that – Perry has advocated secessionist talk in the RECENT past.
    Now this mook, who makes George W Bush look like an intellectual lion, wants the Republican nomination for President? To quote the aforementioned Republican Pres – "Bring it on!" Perry may play well in the social-religious conservative community, but when he has to go up against the more intellectually based fiscal conservatives in the Northeast and West it will be like a 98 pound scrub third-string place kicker trying out for the Offensive Line of the Patriots, especially when he goes up against the impeccably-groomed, and well-prepared Mittens.

    August 16, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. SaintM

    @ Go Perry:

    I don't think David Axelrod or any others in the president's camp are going to have to dig more than 1/8 of an inch before finding something juicy to denounce Rick Perry on. The [video] camera never lies, and he has said some things that he will never be able to spin his way, no matter how hard he tries.

    I'll be watching to see whether any of his "girls" or "boys" will come forward to tell their stories. Another strong case against Perry is this: George W. Bush said he heard the voice of God in his head telling him to be President and Perry has said the very same thing. That does not qualify him to be president, it qualifies him to receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia. NO MORE rich, right wing, evangelical, racist, sadistic schizophrenics from Texas will be allowed in the White House.

    August 16, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. tv22

    So many informed comments. With misinformation like there is in these comments, it's no wonder Obama was elected the last time around.

    Can we wait until we at least get to know Rick Perry before calling him dumb and a womanizer? Also, why is it so fearful to have a southerner and a Christian in the White House? It wasn't a problem when Clinton was President, or Carter who was an evangelical. You people do realize that a) every President so far has been a Christian and b) many have been from the South.

    August 16, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  23. kathy

    Why is no one bringing up the fact that this all too familiar sounding Texan was calling for the secession of Texas from the USA. Doesn't that sound a little treasonous? Also a little crazy...didn't we learn anything from the other 'good ole boy' mentality of Texans?

    August 16, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  24. Wowsors

    Please don't vote for Perry. Please.

    August 16, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  25. Jack

    Perry is just another Hughie Long. Charm, bombast, and a demagogue. Pretty soon he'll be singing lullabies tobabies. We get Perry in and we'll all have to say prayers at the beginning of our work day–at work. Group prayers.

    August 16, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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