April 17th, 2009
03:45 PM ET
14 years ago

Perry says secession comment misinterpreted

(CNN) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry is dialing back his earlier remark that seemed to suggest he was open to secession, telling reporters Thursday his state is "part of a great union."

"I was kinda thinking that, maybe the same people who hadn't been reading the constitution right were reading that article and they got the wrong impression about what I said," he told reporters as in the Texas State House.

"Clearly, I stated that we have a great union. And Texas is part of a great union. I see no reason for that to change. I think that may not be the exact quote, but that is, in essence what I said," he added.

Perry's original comments on the matter came Wednesday at a "Tea Party" even in Austin, when he railed against the federal government for what he said were infringements of states' rights and repeated violations of the 10th amendment of the Constitution - the provision that establishes Federalism. (Video below: Perry fires up 'Tea Party' crowd)

"There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said Wednesday as crowd members shouted calls for secession. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that."

In clarifying his remarks Thursday, Perry also said he has "never been prouder of Texans" for standing up to Washington, DC.

"I think you will see more and more this type of response to a government that is rather unresponsive to the people of this country and Texas was right at the forefront of that yesterday," he said.

Meanwhile, Texas Democrats have sharply criticized Perry's original comment, calling it an "attack on our country."

"It is the ultimate anti-American statement," State Rep. Jim Dunnam of Waco told reporters Thursday.

Filed under: Rick Perry
soundoff (289 Responses)
  1. B. Thomas Cooper

    You Texans voted for this anti-American?

    April 17, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Gary

    This comment by radical reactionary, i.e. Republican, Gov. Rick Perry, typifies the hatred that the reactionary forces have for our American way of life. I have posted on the CNN blog before pointing out the extremism and hatred of reactionaries such as Limbaugh, Cheney, Palin, etc. Witness also, as an other example, the comment posted regarding this article exclaiming that the Confederacy, a vile, treasonous, hate filled entity serving to benefit slave owners, was right on. Americans who love our freedom and our way of life must remain ever vigilant to counter and defeat the forces of hatred and neo-fascism prevalent in today's Repulican party.

    April 17, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. dkm466

    He's not under fire from me. I'm for anything that gets the Federal Government off my back and out of my pocket

    April 17, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. Sam

    In a foolish attempt to get people rilled up he has distanced himself from the centrist (where the majority of us are). It's just another case of a politician who knows the votes and the money come from the far right and left. If you disagree with his ideas then say so but please stop calling people names and lumping an entire state full of people into the same boat as Perry (It makes you seem just as foolish).
    As a side note for a few comments I have seen about the "Don't Mess With Texas" motto: It's an anti litter campaign, not a battle cry.

    Educate yourself and vote – It's patriotic

    It's amusing how the original tea party was held for taxation without representation and now its the representation holding the tea party.

    April 17, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. Carolyn

    Sure looks to me like some liberal bloggers have been paid to sound off and stack these comments with caustic responses! Where are the "every person and opinion is valid" cries now?

    Kudos to a governor with some guts! The Federal Government is for mutual protection – not domination over states rights.

    If you Texans ever secede, can we in Oklahoma become "North Texas?!?"

    April 17, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. debbie

    I live in Houston Tx ,and I can tell you without any hesitation Govenor Perry has lost his mind. This whole tea party nonsense is all about the white people who didn't vote for Obama. Look out in the crowds and all you see is only white people, the ones who clearly can't get over a black man in office but the stupidity is the President is just as white as he is black. The biggest crowd for this tea party crap ended up with the most 5,000 people not like Fox News led people to believe there was 15,000, Govenor Perry is speaking to those people not to the majority in Texas. He want be re-elected and we will be proud of that.

    April 17, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. John

    As every Texan knows we have the right to secede from the Nation if we desire. No other State has that right. Oh, and by the way we are not New Orleans, we've had two major Hurricanes in the past 4 years and you didn't hear us crying for government bailout, we take care of our own, as all of you should.

    April 17, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. Samuel

    Oh no, please don't take it back Perry. Tell me you were serious. I believed in your message. It was the read meat I had always wanted to hear from die hard blowhead republicans like you.

    April 17, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. Kevin

    Tell them to go for it and then require a passport for them to leave the state, they shouldn't need to go anywhere since they are so proud of the size of the state anyway. I used to live there I speak from experience

    April 17, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. Anonymous

    How in the world can this guy say Washington is "thumbing their nose at Americans". Give me a break. If there has ever been an Administration that has "thumbed their noses" at Americans, he needs to look no farther than good ol' G.W. and his cronies. At times I am truly amazed at the ignorance some people in this country have; difference of opinion – fine. But the country made a decsion last November that basically said we are tired of the Republicans and how they have run this country into the ground. Move over – it's the Democrats turn to try and fix the mess this country was left with in January.

    April 17, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. Brad

    I think we can afford to lose texas...

    April 17, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. jmg

    If this were a blue state, you know the right would be spewing vitriol about how un- american such a governor and such a state were. Thank you Rick Perry for reminding me why I am now an independent instead of a republican

    April 17, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. Julia

    As a liberal democrat Texan, I find the governor's remarks embarrassing, inflammatory, and a shame to the state. If Texas were to secede, it should first exercise the right to divide into 5 smaller states so that the areas with some sense (like where I'm from in the southern tip of the state, a solid blue area) could continue being America.

    April 17, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. TCM

    If nothing else, Perry's remark are indicative of how lousy a job, and incompetent the obama administration is doing their job. When millions of hard working, loyal Americans say things like, "Revolution, Secession from the Union," and the country's becoming increasingly more polarized against Obama, you have to wonder how long it will be before he's impeached or asked to resign. He clearly is in way over his head, and again, it's evident through his staff picks. Napalitano's recent display of ineptness is a classic example. The sooner Obama's out of office and a real conservative is in place, the better off the country will be. We need a leader that will treasure and endear the values, morals and blood, sweat and tears this country was built on. We don't need a leader like Obama that cowers to foreign countries, covers up religious symbols to be PC, and generally shows arrogance and lack of concern for the real Americans who've earned their way in this nation.

    April 17, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. Rob Ottawa

    If someone had done this to Bush oh imagine the howls of treason and terrorist and Socialist. The US needs more Socialism then perhaps you may become as good as us Canadians.

    April 17, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Dan Richardson

    First of all it was not a threat. Any reporter or columnist who think so should work for the tabloids. Is this type of journalism is stupid garbage.

    April 17, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. Sniffit

    It's going to be a very VERY hard year for the GOP in 2010. The message sent on November 4, 2008 was extremely clear and it was only natural that the entire GOP would initially show resistance to accepting it, internalizing it and adapting. But the articles on today's Ticker highlight what will be happening over teh course of the next year and a half:

    Those like Perry, Sanford and the Limbaugh/Coulter/Hannity/Beck/O'Reilly masses, whose response to the message of November 4, 2008 was to believe harder, repeat louder and angrier, turn inward and become more insular and extreme...they will fight tooth and nail for their social-conservative policies ardently (and mindlessly), resisting the call to evolve.

    But, as much as I hate to give the man credit, we have signs that McCain, of all people, might have finally started to get it. Sure, it's purely strategy to say "support same-sex marriage because we need more voters," but eventually (despite individuals' differences within the party) that type of position would be internalized by the party overall. You see, it's adapt to survive or stick to your guns and die and some GOPers might be starting to recognize that they need to give up the fight on some of the one-issue-voter divisive issues they previously were able to use so effectively to carve up the voting market.

    So there's really tow options...will the extreme right wing sunder the party or can they be cowed so that it survives? That is the question.

    April 17, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. Jordan (South Dakota)

    Terrible... and the best part is the GOP made the mess. Obama has been in office for less than 100 days and all your hearing from the republicans is Obama represents excessive spending. He's gotten us into this. Its absurd. I've even heard calls for impeachment. Its ridiculous. Its right-wing nut-jobs like this guy that got us here and Fmr. President Bush. Give President Obama a chance before you secede from the union. You might end up liking where we are going. The economy is on the rebound and were coming back, with Texas or without you.

    April 17, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. Peter E

    Snore! Texas 'threatens' to leave the union every other year, only to be reminded after every hurricane hit that they can't pay for their own disaster relief. They need us more than we need them!

    April 17, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. Denver 42yr. old Mom

    I keep reading on these posts that "The American people are sick of the Federal Government poking its nose into our lives."

    Well then what am I? I am an American citizen, and I don't feel that way at all. I have a degree, a job, a family, and I pay taxes. And I don't feel that way about the Federal Government.

    I do want some government services – State and Federal. I want the streets swept, the roads repaired, schools for the kids, libraries. I want volcanic monitoring. I want fruit-fly research AND stem cell research.

    Here I am! A well-mannered , educated, productive member of society, and I count, too!

    So as far as the "silent, god-fearing conservative majority" goes, I honestly think you need to re-examine that. There are a whole bunch of "me", too, and we voted for Obama.

    April 17, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. Justa thought.

    This guy is just another BIG MOUTH TEXAS POLITICIAN with delusions of grandure . Texas could no more withdraw from the Union then California, Virginia etc al could... I mean, think of what they would loose IF they tried to pull away... Military bases and ALL the materials they hold would would be the very first to go away. Very many jobs that are connected to defense contractors would leave (OMG) that would devastate Halliburton) Then next would be ANYTHING our U.S. Government money supports would have to be taken out... NO monies for freeways, schools (and so on) . On second thought, LET THEM GO... All the money we send to Texas could go to some state that is proud to be a member of the U.S.A. . At least we wouldn't have to worry about another George W. Bush family member trying to be the President again... Maybe we could even cut off the retirement of W...

    April 17, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. dee

    the govt did listen to the american people it was called an election. and the people spoke that they wanted change. the people who came to these tea parties were the ones who wanted things to stay the same.

    April 17, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. podo3500

    In Iraq Perry will be Hanged foe what he said, as Saddam Hussien hanged the Kurds who wanted to divide his country. Since a Texan started the Iraq war, Prerry should be sent there as an Ambassador to get his case sorted out directly under the Law of the streets in Iraq. Its a very demeaning statement we got from him. He is a Big Traitor like many other American Republicans. The Likes of Newt Gringrich.

    April 17, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. David

    I say let them go. But first, go in and tear up all of the highways, remove all military bases, close all of the federal ports and pul out all of the equipment, allow any Texan who wants to be an American to leave, and seal the state off from the rest of the US. Lets see how they do then...

    Oh, I almost forgot, lets deport Hannity, Limbaugh, and the rest of the "teabaggers" and send them to "Texas". Also on the way out let's send them all a bill for the federal funds that they have received over the years.

    Good luck Perry!!! We will not miss you!

    April 17, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. george from alaska

    what a bunch of republican whiners. they ruined the country and lost the elections big time. now they want to make up a childish public relations fantasy that only an idiot would swallow about them being "patriots" and take their ball and go home. problem is it's our ball they are trying to take away...not theirs alone...but then they don't care about that or you and me...the regular hard working folks who are the true patriots...never have...never will. i say go ahead rich boys and your dumb ignorant followers...just try and mess with us. we will squash you like the bugs that you are.

    April 17, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12