Perry says 'privileged' Obama can't relate
November 17th, 2011
12:24 PM ET
3 years ago

Perry says 'privileged' Obama can't relate

(CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry backed up his "pathetic" criticism of President Obama late Thursday, saying the incumbent's thinking is based on his background.

"He grew up in a privileged way," Perry said while explaining his ad attack that decries President Obama's description of America as being "a little bit lazy over the last couple of decades."

Obama made the comments Saturday in Hawaii during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit as he explained the nation can do a better job of selling goods outside of the U.S.

"You know, he never had to really work for anything and he never had to go through what Americans are going-you know, there's 14-plus million Americans sitting out there, some of them watching this program tonight that don't have a job," Perry said in an interview on Fox News.

"The president has never felt that angst that they have in their heart."

President Obama's memoir, "Dreams from my Father," published in 1995, documents a less than privileged childhood marked by the divorce of his parents when the president was two years old, his father's absence, and a move to Jakarta after his mother remarried. At 10 years old, Obama returned to Hawaii to live with his grandparents. His mother followed later. He was admitted to a  college preparatory school in the fifth grade on scholarship.

But for Perry, Obama's background falls short.

"We need a president who's been through the ups and downs of life, who understands what it's like to have to deal with the issues of our economy we have today in America, and that's what this election is gonna be about," he continued. "Who has a plan to get America working again."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also attacked the president's comments, saying he doesn't think Obama understands America at a campaign event in South Carolina.

"He said Americans are lazy," Romney said. "I don't think that describes America."

And Thursday, the Democratic National Committee hit back at both GOP rivals with a Web ad questioning their record on creating jobs.

"President Obama said we need to do more to bring jobs to America," an ad banner says before a photo of Romney slides across the screen. Matched with the photo is text that states "Mitt Romney's Massachusetts: 47th in job creation."

Perry's photo is paired with: "Rick Perry's Texas. #1 in minimum wage jobs."

Calling Rick Perry's description of Obama's "lazy" remarks "another gaffe" and Romney's "another manipulation" the Web spot blasts both GOP candidates for the 2012 presidential nomination for making "another attack we just can't believe."

Programming note: GOP presidential candidates next face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, November 22, in the CNN Republican National Security Debate in Washington, D.C.. Submit your questions for the debate here.

Also see:

Santorum: Republicans 'ignore some realities' on economy

Cain: How do you say that in 'Cuban?'

Gingrich faces more questions about Freddie Mac

soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    The Governor here must be referring to someone other than the President.
    He got his cue cards mixed up again.

    November 18, 2011 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  2. gracie

    I'll be voting for Obama this time around, and as a Texan am quite upset over what has been going on in our state. However, Perry is pretty correct on this-President Obama's beloved grandma was a bank vice-president.

    November 18, 2011 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  3. Lawrence

    I looked at Rick Perry's 1040 for 2008 and Obama 1040 for the same year and Obama paid 32% tax and Perry paid only 20%. Perry did not pay any State taxes.

    November 18, 2011 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  4. GeoFred

    Republicans are hypocrites, but very good at selling their hypocrisy. George W Bush had a daddy in the White House and went to Yale but sold himself to trailer park america as a regular guy. I don't know, or care, how Perry grew up, but he sure wants to do his best for privledged people once he's president. There are two kinds of privledged people: ones with a sense of duty, and ones determined to keep it for themselves. FDR and JFK came from families that could buy and sell people like Perry, but they actually tried to help people less fortunate than themselves.

    November 18, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  5. descantabauchi

    I am no admirer of Obama, but there is no way I can say he had a privileged life. He didn't: father run away, moved to a third world country, skinner darker than average (which may be a problem in some instances) etc. That's no privilege.
    I do think Obama lost touch with the world of the working/unemployed folks, though.
    But then again, it's tough not to when one seats in Washington.

    November 18, 2011 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  6. Blossom89

    If Mr. Perry thinks HE relates to the common American any better then President Obama he's SEVERELY mistaken!!

    November 18, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
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