(CNN) – GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry said his wife's emotional speech Thursday–claiming his campaign had been "beaten up" and "brutalized"–was simply a case of familial concern.
"You know, family members always take these campaigns more substantially personal than the candidate," the Texas governor said on CNN's "American Morning" Friday.
Speaking to South Carolina voters on Thursday, Anita Perry unleashed disappointment about the way her husband's campaign had been treated.
"It's been a rough month," Perry said in comments recorded by NBC News. "We have been brutalized and beaten up and chewed up in the press to where I need this today."
But Perry defended his high school sweetheart Friday and said he's well-armored to take on the shots.
"I've been doing this a long time. I understand slings and arrows, and that's a diversion frankly," Perry said. "This is the big leagues. Everyone understands that. It's about the presidency of the United States. And we're committed to this campaign."
His comments came ahead of his first energy policy speech, which he's set to deliver late Friday morning in Pennsylvania.
Perry, who immediately jumped to top tier status when he entered the race in August, has watched his poll numbers steadily drop over recent weeks after uneven debate performances and placing second to Herman Cain in a much-watched Florida straw poll.
When pressed by CNN's Ali Velshi on his fall-back in the race, Perry repeated a line he's used before, arguing that debate skills are not the most important quality for a presidential candidate.
"You know I hope I make progress every day in my life as well as my debate performances," Perry said. "But again Americans aren't looking for the best debater."
His campaign also found itself at the center of controversy last week, when a supporter and Baptist minister of a large Texas congregation labeled Mormonism a "cult," urging Christians to vote for fellow Christian Perry, instead of a "non-Christian" like Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who's the front-runner in the national polls for the GOP nomination.
Perry answered the remarks by saying he didn't consider Mormonism a "cult" but has yet to respond to other GOP candidates who have called on Perry to repudiate the pastor as his supporter.
"We have religions of all backgrounds," Perry said. "But we also have freedom of speech and I'm not going to spend my time defending everything that is said by someone who endorse me. It doesn't mean I endorse what they said, and that is the case here."
On another morning show, Perry discounted Herman Cain's '9-9-9' tax plan, which offers a flat 9% rate on both corporate and income taxes and would impose a new 9% national sales tax.
The Texas governor argued the plan won't do well in states that already lack a sales tax. And while the plan may sound good for now, Perry said, it will only face "tough sledding" as it gets more thoroughly vetted.
"When people try to make a decision about who you really want running America, somebody that really knows how to create jobs, not somebody that's got a catchy slogan," said Perry on ABC's "Good Morning America."
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He should now show some respect for our President and his family. His talk of sucession and comments about our President is now coming back to haunt him and his family. These folks think it is easy to throw stones but they can't seem to take a stone being thrown at them.
I do not have any sympathy for those who do not show maturity or respect.
Perry can't even spit out a complete sentence...embarrassing.
People want jobs. Quit thinking only about yourself.
Supposedly Gov Perry, who at one time claimed he had no interest in running for POTUS, got his family's blessing to do so. But Perry never really had been put under the microscope down here in Texas and the national media is giving him more than his family expected. The stuff he got away with down here doesn't play as well on the big stage and I am not really shocked that the "myth of Rick Perry" is taking such a hit at the moment.
For him being gubner for so long, this is the first Anita Perry spotting for many Texans. She has been behind the curtain so to speak. Didn't even know what she looked like until Perry started this campaign. Get over it Anita – worst first lady of Texas ever.
Just what we need: another Texas Oil Puppet like the one from 2000-2008.
Rick, it is time for you to secede as a presidential candidate and go back to making Texas the worst in the United States. You made over $17 million in campaign contributions, and that is not bad for 30 days.
I guess it is time for him to go!!!
I really don't see America putting another Texan in the White House!!!
Poor Mrs. Perry. They are picking on her husband (and thereby picking on her family). I am sorry but I somehow do not see the connection. I think Mrs. Perry has a Palin problem. You know what that is right? Put yourself out in the media, say stupid and controversial statements, don't back them up with facts and then complain when your feelings get hurt when the press slams you for the gross inaccuracies. Welcome to politics. She was lucky during the last Texas governor's election that Hutchinson was so polite. I would not have been. I would have went after her husband with both barrels. He is a goof and Texas deserves a lot better. The only good thing that her husband did running for president is that his goofiness was finally exposed to a national audience.
I thought submissive baptist wives were used to the heat in the kitchen?
He has the cold eyes of a shark. I don't trust him - it's all about his bottom line $$$$$$ and the corporations that support him (big oil and the folks that don't care about clean air, water, etc.)
"Perry, a little advice, Racist Evangelicals don,t make leaders of the free world!!! Go back to the rock of ages! Do America a favor,and reside in Texas where you belong,and try to see "Sick little children go to the doctor,instead of dying from "Strep Throat,or the Flu!!!! No brainer there,huh???
Well, Mrs. Perry is not ready for prime time if she thinks what has been slung at her and her husband is rough already. Look at what the current First lady endures from the right on a daily basis- even trying to focus on kids eating healthy and getting outside and excercising is met with blistering criticism. If she thinks it's been rough so far there isn't much to say except good luck dear.
If it bothers Perry's family so much, then maybe Perry should not be running.
I am sorry that Perry and his family cannot handle the choices he has made. He and his family should have taken a more serious look at the tone the extremists have taken this campaign and decided not to run. Perry and his wife sure were out there criticizing others. Why are we now hearing all this whining from the Perry's. I brings to mind the cliché "Sure can dish it but can't take it". Maybe it is time for him and his family to return to Austin and he can work on that little matter of Texas’s $27B debt and the loans from us the U.S tax payers.
It's obvious that the Perrys are not ready for the big time. Time to cut your losses and go back to enriching your campaign contributors in Texas.
It's not just your debate performance it's your ideas, they're not conservative, so I have a "heart" and its says you're not the man for the job!
Being Governor of Texas is minor league. If Perry wants to run with the big dogs, he can't still pee like a puppy! This man is not ready to lead Texas, much less our nation.
mrs p needs to toughen up. how would she like to be mrs obama and have the internet flooded with pictures of her with a bone in her nose or jokes about the size of her butt. your husband is running for POTUS. you're not just the queen of texas anymore. buck up!
Let's face it, Parry should go back to Texas...................
Thumbs up for Mrs. Perry complaining about the buzz of today BULLYING topic, yet none of the ADULT talking head bullies get it.
Thanks Mrs. Perry for pointing out their nonsense bully tactics at the top.
Perry doesn't understand that by calling taxpayers heartless who don't support benefits for illegals, it means Perry is brainless.
Did they not understand this would happen? Have they not watched the last 4 presidential elections? Here's what i think about Perry's poor performance. His ego dragged him into the race but he was surprised how tough this would be and has lost real interest. It shows he looks like someone who is just going through the motions and if he could find a good way to withdraw he would.
Rick Perry's energy plan , " ENRON "
Perry says slowing carbon emissions hurts economy !
So why are the families brought into it at all? Why do candidates get away with pushing their families, including minor children, in front of the cameras? Why are there no laws protecting those children from being exploited for political purposes?