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. Scarlett

    Seriously, anyone of you people who think this is treason needs to understand the word. I'm not for the right and I'm not for the left. He's merely stating that state's rights are being squandered. All you people that have nothing but a vision of one sided views need to understand that the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA was founded on all sides. To seriously say the right is bad and that the left is bad is beyond a terrible decision on all your parts.

    April 17, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Pel

    I see the governor got caught up in the moment with his ultra right wing friends. Once the other people of Texas heard or read about his comments they reacted and called him on those remarks. He came immediately to the realization that most of the people who vote in Texas are not right wingers and during the election, he only won appx 30-35% of the vote.


    April 17, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Grey Fox

    Governor Perry followed up his attack on education by hinting, with a frantic 'undo' spin later, that Texas just might fly the coop and secede from the union. This isn't just playing to the crowd. This was a trial balloon. If you don't understand that, then you don't understand why he spoke the way he did (and has in the past few months). There is a movement afoot that is seditious, and he is an integral part of it. These folks would love to have a new "Republic of Texas", where they could turn back the clock to about the eighth century A.D. This is not the last time you will be encountering this idiocy, unfortunately.

    April 17, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. SR

    State Rep. Jim Dunnam of Waco has it exactly right.

    There isn't anything more un-American than encouraging secession. Think of all the people who died during the Civil War - the landscape literally littered with bodies - to settle this issue.

    And now, this guy Perry - a member of the Party of Lincoln - has the gall to talk about Texas seceding from the union. Of course the same can be said of First Dude Palin and his wife's pandering to the Alaska Independence Party. There's nothing less American than wanting to tear it apart!

    April 17, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. Mark C

    Republicans are getting nuttier all the time.

    April 17, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. Proud Texan

    It is obvious that Perry was just trying to "appeal" to the radicalness of the right-wing crowd. He got the cheers he wanted by saying negative comments about America and the Obama administration. Typical of today's GOP attitude.

    It's time for the great state of Texas to get out of the Republican cloud we have been under and subjected to for years. It's time for a Democratic governer. I would love to see Perry, the Bushes, and all of the GOP gang move out. Maybe they can live with Palin in Alaska! 🙂

    April 17, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Gary Smith

    Here we go again Mr. Perry. Trying your best to be in postion to be the Governor of Texas once again by making everyone think you are so loyal to Texas. You have totally stayed out of the lime light on imigration because of the Mexican-American vote and claimed it was the Government's problem. You Sir, are pathetic...

    Please go away, you are useless to Texas and our Country. Hopefully everyone will see through you.

    April 17, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. Chris

    I'm sorry but he (Gov. Perry), any resident of Texas who shares his sediment, and FNC for the avocation of these "tea parties", should be tried for seditious acts against this government. When you have voices like FNC publicly advocating against the current state of government and inciting such protests around the country, you send the absolutely wrong message to the American people, people who quite frankly mistakenly take political ideals and turn them into beliefs. And when you have political beliefs, you have the Middle East.

    April 17, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. C W

    Rick Perry is a paper tiger: All fluff, panders to his base to show how macho he is, but doesn't have the huevos to stand behind his words.

    We all know what he meant. He can back-pedal until the longhorns come home, he was still calling for secession. That is treason!

    April 17, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. RRR

    Like a bunch of salivating dogs barking at the moon......evidently the little Texas Tea party got everyone so whipped up in a frenzy they all started saying whatever would rile up the crowd into an anti-D.C. frenzy......take your teabags and go home complainers! These people want the government to serve THEM while giving nothing back.

    April 17, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Scott

    Huh. Who knew that some conservatives were actually taking that whole "America – love it or leave it" thing seriously.

    April 17, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  12. Kimberly

    This IS ANTI AMERICAN, no matter how you try to back peddle governor! Its treason, and its unreal to me that you are the gov. Looks like you and palin (and her anti American husband) are going to be looking for new jobs in a couple years! I am ashamed of you and i am not in Texas!!!

    April 17, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  13. KDZB

    "The guy has it right,its time for all states to tell the federal government to stick it!!!!"

    YEAH. What the world needs is 50 more 3rd World Nations!!

    Together we Stand!! Divided we Fall!

    April 17, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. Rob Turak

    Where in the above video does Perry speak of secession?

    April 17, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. KJL

    Political backtracking has become a form of art.

    April 17, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. ArielB

    Let's make TX the Tax-Free Guinea Pig...no more federal funds including any from FEMA for fires or hurricanes. Also, eliminate any state or sales taxes. Go completely tax-free.

    Then show us the results.

    April 17, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  17. yeah right

    Texas cant legally secede from the union, what it can DO, is divide itself up into more states, for what ever little that would accomplish ! None of this IS going to happen, and Perry WONT be back in politics in this state..too many of us true americans 1st, Texans 2nd here that will see to that ! He meant exactly what he said, and thats his downfall...he should go to alaska now, see if they want him, we DONT..
    american 1st, texan 2nd..

    April 17, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. Fortuneman

    I'm a life long Texan and I for one can't stand Gov 39% Perry! He has tried pushing his stupid toll roads down thousands of Texan throats! Pay no attention to his ravings about seceding. It's just political positioning to try and save his butt and make it through the Primary. TOO LATE!! Everyone I know is voting for Senator Hutchison. Perry's reign of terror is about done.

    April 17, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. Nancy MI

    Don't let the door hit you in the ...

    April 17, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. DWT

    2 Points: First, Texas was forced to join the US after an un-constitutional move by Congress. The Constitution makes provision for how states are to be incorporated.

    Second. the Constitution actually does make a provision for states to legally dissolve it ties with the union.

    Read the Constitution. It's not sedition, treason, or rebellious. We have rights. It's not anti-American to be pro-state, we have the freedom in our associations. It's not declaring war. Stop taking it personally.

    States should be free to do what the Constitution allows, especially if they feel it infringes on state true rights and if the required majority of its citizens desire to separate from the union.

    April 17, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. Shasta

    Any way you twist it, sedition is sedition. The federal government needs to take this sort of threat seriously. Even if Perry didn't mean it, he said those words at an anti-federal government rally. He was crowd-baiting.

    April 17, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. Calvin

    For the rest of the country, please believe that most Texans are not like W. or Rick Perry– or at least I'm not.

    April 17, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. DonnieJ

    Wouldn't it be funny if the people at the secession/teabag rally also did the retarded republican "USA, USA, USA" chant at some point after cheering the secession remarks?

    April 17, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. Scott

    I've seen the worst minds of my generation become the only voices at the microphone. This sad fact is because their small mindedness stirs the pot, and conflict makes money for news organizations.

    April 17, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Barbara Caniff

    If the Governor wants to secede, let them join with Mexico. Good Americans for Obama don't need a person like that in the United States. I can't believe that people in America are not trying to help our President get something done. They money they spent on tea bags would have fed a lot of hungry people.

    April 17, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12