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. Arlen Godshaw

    We have a great country, but don't overlook the
    Constitutional rights of states. States are not robots of the federal government. States are given rights that the current administration clearly is ignoring in trying to behave like they are masters of the states.

    April 17, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. Susan Strobel

    Once again, I am dumbfounded and thoroughly embarrassed by the Governor of the State of Texas. As a Texas, I thought it couldn't get any worse than George W. Bush, but Rick Perry is both astoundingly stupid and so far to the right, it makes me want to move to Oklahoma. And that's saying something.

    April 17, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. John, Fairfax, VA

    No it wasn't misinterpreted. He said exactly what he meant. Now that he's getting backlash, and seeing that people are happy to be Texans, but far more happy to be Americans, it was suddenly "misinterpreted." He needs to step down and get a grip. Hopefully, if the Governor must be a Republican, the people will vote this clown out and put in Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

    April 17, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. thanks, but no thanks


    get the ... out of the union. It is not Perry's fault. It is the crazy people in Texas who keep electing such people in office. What is really Texas IQ???

    April 17, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. johnny

    Perry, it is people like you who are thumbing your nose at the American people! The wishes of the American people have been made known! Our President was elected by the American people to lead us out of the desert we have been wandering in due to a serious lack of leadership for quite some time. We chose him and we are behind him. If you don't like it, then get out, and take your pitiful 10,000 teabaggers with you. They're upset? MUST BE THEIR TURN!

    April 17, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Andrew Lisk

    Gov. Perry epitomizes the gut emotion of REAL Americans. Its being said that the Constitution loses relevance in the 21st century, those same people obviously think a 2000 year old Bible has lost relevance also. This country is barreling down a road leading to a correction.
    When the stock market, housing markets and all commodity markets get too crazy theres always a natural correction that brings those entities back into reality. The conservative, God-fearing, silent majority is edging closer to initiating that correction, with the ballot or otherwise.

    April 17, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. Scott W.

    Texas should secede. The U.S. is well on its way to full-blown socialism and corporate fascism and the only hope for Liberty may be the independent Republic of Texas. Texas has the strongets economy in the Union right now, so we would be much better off without Bush and Obama's war-mongering and Empire building. Let's keep our money in Texas and take care of Texans and let the "United" States deal with Washington's B.S.

    April 17, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. Seth

    Leaders aren't supposed to be swayed by mobs. Even entertaining the thought of seccession is the ultimate act of un-patriotism. To do it over the political maneuverings that are behind the tea-bag movement is shameful.

    April 17, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. Chistin

    People are so backwards,,,Texans were one of the main ones saying Obama was unpatriotic but you got a crowd of mostly white conservative probably self-proclaimed Christian yelling for secession!
    The ultimate unpatriotic anti-american act.

    sure let them go, I love to see how they plan to protect themselves from terrorist and and give back the millions of dollars they have taken of government funds!!!!

    April 17, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. patriot

    You go, Rick! Just go. And take the rest of your treasonist followers with you.

    April 17, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. keeth in california

    And here comes the back track and "I'm sorry if you were offended but I'm not going to apologize."

    Funny, where were these people during the last 8 years when the (p)resident was thumbing his nose at the middle class while giving tax breaks to the wealthy, and spending and growing the government like crazy?!?

    Oh yeah, they were watching Fox News. Can't organize a protest until Fox tells them it's ok to do so.

    April 17, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. Paul

    Gov. Perry, it's called sedition, and it's a high crime against the government of the United States. It really disgusts me to see the actions of our founding fathers subverted by a bunch of ultra-conservative sore-loser Neocons who still haven't figured out that they're the cause of the mess we're in.

    April 17, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. Casy

    I understand and agree with most of his points about the Federal Government but the answer isn't seceding. The answer is standing together and fight to take our country back!!

    April 17, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. B.K.

    Gov. Perry's should backtrack and apologize for his ridiculous comment, what a slap in the face to every veteran that fought and died for this union. What a selfish and anti-American comment to make.

    April 17, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. Joe in Austin

    Perry had been truly visionary in a few of his positions. He pursued a 50 year water plan before the environmental movement, he started a roads plan that diverted long distance traffic from the overfilled and unworkable I35 corridor, he pushed HPV immunizations when the first studies came out that showed their advantage. But he has been dialed back into the boneheaded conservatism that gets politicians elected down here, and keeps the state 2nd-rate.

    April 17, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. P. Mathew

    I thought republicans were so patriotic and pro-American. What a joke.

    April 17, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. silly rabbit

    as much as I'm not a Kay B. Hutch fan, I would take her in a minute over this moron we have for a gov right now. Perry PLEASE give us fair warning if you are going to make my state into another country so I can put my house on the market and get the heck outta here.

    April 17, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. Republicansaredone

    The South will not rise again. You lost. Get over it.

    April 17, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  19. Commonsense

    Too many, including the "Texas Democrats" noted above, have fallen into the belief that states are subject to the federal government. A read of Federalist Papers will clarify in anyones head that the Federal Government is subject to the states.
    I understood exactly what Perry was saying when he made his comment. He was rightly scolding the feds for sticking their noses into business that is not theirs. Texas should gladly accept the rebate of taxes already paid to the government by it's hard working citizens. However if Washington is going to mandate Texas change their laws in order to qualify for the rebate – they should indeed tell them to keep it. Any politician who would so easily roll over to the will of the feds just to get back a little of their money – shouldn't hold a political office.

    April 17, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  20. John from Long Island NY

    Talk about being ANTI American! They should handle him like Andrew Jackson handled South Carolina in 1829- Kick his Butt

    April 17, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. ~~ July ~~

    Lies lies ... nothing but BIG TEXAS lies!

    You have LOST my Texas Vote Ricky!

    kay bailey hutchison got my vote now

    April 17, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. Gary

    Good, let them go.

    April 17, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. Let'm do it

    People (Republicans mostly) railed against Obama and his wife for not being patriotic. Going as far as saying that not wearing a lapel pin was unpatriotic. Perry's comments are, IMO, not only unpatriotic but treasonous. Let me hear from the right wing now, please!

    April 17, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. calvin

    The dude got caught up in the crowd fever and let his true thoughts be known... To late pal, can't unring the bell, now do us all a favor an resign so Texas can begin to move forward in a more positive direction.

    April 17, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. Mark

    Just like i'm a terrorist for having an anti Obama bumper sticker on my car now.

    April 17, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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