Perry's wife staunchly defends husband, warns against ‘polished’ GOP pres. candidates
September 28th, 2011
07:12 AM ET
3 years ago

Perry's wife staunchly defends husband, warns against ‘polished’ GOP pres. candidates

Clive, Iowa (CNN) – On Tuesday evening, Gov. Rick Perry’s wife essentially slipped an iron fist into a velvet glove: blasting President Barack Obama, “setting the record straight” about her husband’s stance on illegal immigration and warning Republicans not to be taken by more “polished” Republican presidential candidates.

And for any conservative still fretting over the governor’s last shaky debate performance, his wife assured: he will get better at deflecting the “seven arrows” pointed at him in debates.


Anita Perry directly addressed those issues during two campaign appearances on her husband’s behalf in Iowa.

On the first stop, the wife of the Republican presidential candidate opened the campaign’s Iowa headquarters.

“I have to tell you, I’m a little hungry for a pork chop on a stick that I had at the [Iowa State] Fair when we were here in August,” Perry began her comments to the small crowd. “It's great to be back to people who are authentic and genuine like you are – because he is.”

The office is nestled among a pod of businesses in a newly-developed area in West Des Moines, a tony suburb of the state capital.

It was at her second stop of the evening – at a county GOP meeting – that Perry’s language grew bolder.

The candidate’s wife used President Obama’s well-known campaign slogan to blast his record on jobs. 
“The president promised us hope,” she said. “But for more than 200,000 people in this state alone of Iowa, who can’t find work, and for the 45 million Americans who now rely on food stamps just to feed their family, hope is short and hard to come by.”

Calling the president a “debater-in-chief,” Perry warned Republicans not to be taken by any GOP presidential candidate with too much political sparkle.

“Some people may be more polished in their presentations, like the little debate they had last week,” she said, adding that no other candidate is more principled.

Later, while speaking to reporters, Perry was asked if that was a slam against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Recently, her husband cast Romney as “slick.”

“No I’m not going to say that about my good friend Mitt,” she said. Then Perry added: “But… Gov. Romney’s been running for president, I think, for four or five years. And that was my husband’s third debate… on a national stage. So I think it’s really unfair to compare them.”

The wife did acknowledge her husband’s lackluster debate performance.

“I think he would tell you that the other night was not his best performance,” she said. “But he’s only going to get better.”

“I think when you have seven arrows being shot at you, and you’re the one person in the middle, then 30-seconds rebuttal doesn’t give you a lot of time.”

Meanwhile, Perry also tried to allay any concern over the governor’s stances on illegal immigration. The Texas chief executive, his wife said, stands against illegal immigration, favors a “boots on the ground” approach to stem it along the U.S.-Mexican border and has fought against the flow of drugs and weapons across the border.

But the governor’s defense of a Texas law that provides in-state tuition rates to the children of illegal immigrants has irked many conservatives.

On that, the wife set about “setting the record straight.”

“Some have attacked Rick on this issue. ...so I want you to be armed with the facts,” she said. “In Texas, we only offer in-state tuition to residents of our state who have attended a Texas school for a minimum of three years and have earned a high degree. Children in the country illegally must be pursuing their citizenship in order to get an in-state rate. It is not a subsidy.”

Perry continued: “When Washington has failed to secure the border, has shown no sign of dealing with the millions that are here illegally, states like Texas are left with one of two choices: either we take care of those populations or they get on welfare which is a greater cost to our taxpayers. Or we give them the opportunity to graduate from a Texas school the opportunity to be a contributing member of society.”

Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

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Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Rick Perry
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. mark whitt

    you will never be first lady so get over it !

    September 28, 2011 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  2. Little Jimmy Truth

    Wow!!!

    Anita, you have powerful voice. Let's go, lady!!! You will be wiser than Michelle!!!

    September 28, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  3. Name king

    Well miss perry if folks cannot get jobs why don't you tell the repug do nothing congress to get up off their butts and past the president jobs bill. Oh I forgot if they do, it would hurt your husband presidential bid. Hey then shut the hell up Because you don't want to see folks in jobs stop being a hypocrite for once. These people are suffering because of you disgusting repug power hungry stance, so as gullible you think these people are, their a few out their that will be objective and say," hey wait a minute", the president have put a job bill out their if you guys was so concerned about your fellow citizen why not try and see what this job bill have to offer. I know you will lie that the first one didn't work. No matter what the facts says otherwise. Oh I forgot that you guys hate even the mention of the word fact. You guys believe in emotions and fear mongering. All I'm saying if you guys are so concerned about jobs, anything is better than sitting down on your hands like you did during the financial crash then got upset as hell when Obama came in and did something to get us out of it. Do something dam it!!!

    September 28, 2011 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  4. Kimberly in Houston

    Let's have the wives talk about specific issues and not hurl personal attacks.

    September 28, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  5. 1crusader

    If she is sincere, she should lobby Congress to work with the president to get SOMETHING done Republicans created this mess with their ideology on tax cuts and deregulation .Passing the president's jobs bill would be a good start to bringing the unemployment rate down, significantly.

    September 28, 2011 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  6. mary

    Your husband is a stupid jerk, Texas is last in damn near everthing including health care and education .Plus yor husband took government money to help close its 9 billion budget short fall. Is Rick hiding behind your skirt? You don't see the first lady attacking the GOP field. Mrs Perry you left your class in Texas?

    September 28, 2011 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  7. durundal

    So we shouldnt pay attention to the public figures who know what they are doing, we should instead support the awkward unprepared contradictory mess that is this dominionist buffoon? Hats off to her for supporting her husband, sadly she will probably have served her purpose.

    September 28, 2011 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Mrs. Perry has now officially entered the circus floor, and has made herself a legitimate target for political attacks.

    September 28, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    Anita, I hate to tell you this, but it does not matter to the mouth-breathers on this issue: they simply want them gone. Its too bad: your husband tried to do the right thing, but that's not important to the hateful TP people your husband is trying to court. What is more important to people like me is whuy your husband took 17 billion in stim money to correct his mistakes with the TX budget ( including retroactively balancing budgets), all the while blasting government. Those private sector jobs were jobs most people could not support themselves on, much less a family and attempt to save any after paying for food and rent. His economic success is a myth, because the poverty rate in TX has increased during his tenure as governor.

    September 28, 2011 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  10. John

    Rick Perry Is some kind of Man, he mess up so he have his wife do the taking for him. This Is about has low has the man can get. He should go back to Texas and stay there, But what I heard they don't want him either.Rick Perry Is a Lair and should be In Jail for treason for wanting Texas to secede from the Union. The man Isn't trying to bring America back together ,he trying to tear America apart. There Is NO way this man should be able to run for President. He shouldn't even be able to stay GOV of Texas.

    September 28, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  11. Church

    Poor Rick. He can't articulate, so he sends his wife out to speak for him.
    Arnie used to send Maria out to speak English for him; she won't be doing that any more.

    September 28, 2011 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  12. ron

    Rick Perry is not smart enough,or qualified to be anywhere near the White House. My wife would like me to be President to,"But as an American Man, "I must know my Limitations???? WOW???? What a concept???

    September 28, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Mrs. Perry, your husband has struck out on three consecutive pitches. The last strike he looked at, making no attempt to "defend the plate." If he cannot handle "Reagan 11th Amendment" attacks from 7 Republicans, it is obvious that he will wilt and melt when the attacks come from Democrats. His biggest mistake was coming the New York and injecting domestic politics into ongoing international diplomacy. He reminds me of Mayor Palin.

    Mrs. Perry, the problem with illegals coming into this country didn't suddenly begin Jan. 21, 2009. But, federal action to address the problem has increased dramatically since that date. Please do not mischaracterize the Obama administration efforts to make up for years of neglect by Republican politicians who thought the cheap labor coming from Central and South America was a good thing that good undermine labor unions.

    September 28, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  14. T'sah from Virginia

    ►“But… Gov. Romney’s been running for president, I think, for four or five years. And that was my husband’s third debate… on a national stage. So I think it’s really unfair to compare them.”◄

    Then Perry should NOT have jumped into the race if he was NOT prepared.

    The difference between Perry and Romney is that one of them FLIP-FLOPS and the other FLOPS-FLIPS. One of them is far-RIGHT to satisfy the far-RIGHT but not that so far-Right after all (Dream Act Texas Style); and the other is NOT so far-RIGHT but wants to satisfy the far-RIGHT and at the same time NOT wanting to be seen with the far-RIGHT (TRUMPet's latest and not the greatest meeting). So in my opinion Ms. Perry, your husband and the one he’s fighting against are both losers!!!!

    Obama/Biden 2012!!!

    September 28, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  15. Jake Edwards

    So Ms. Perry, if I move to Texas then, as you put it, either Texas takes care of me or I have to get on welfare. But if i want to improve myself, because I am an American and not Mexican, I have to pay a higher price. To get the lower price, I must renounce my U.S. citizenship, become a Mexican citizen, and then enroll? How is that fair?

    September 28, 2011 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  16. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    “It's great to be back to people who are authentic and genuine like you are – because he is.”......Are people in Minnesota authentic and genuine as well?

    September 28, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  17. Dean

    Anita Perry for President!

    September 28, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |