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. JoeinTexas

    Wow – Hope he wasnt considering a Run for Pres or VP in the future. Obviously this same issue impacted Palin's chances once it came out that she was head speaker of The Alaskan Independence Party and made similar commments regarding seceding from the US.

    April 17, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. Mike Lady

    I can't wait until Texas secedes so that my tax money will no longer be used for immigration control measures and hurricane assistance for Texas. Let Texans handle their own problems.

    April 17, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. David in Houston

    As a fellow Texan I feel the need to emphatically state that Rick Perry does not speak for me nor does he speak for most of the folks I know.

    Rick Perry has embarrassed the people of Texas once again.

    Thanks, Gov.

    April 17, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. dg

    This is a plea to the rest of the US....... Please ignore Perry! He does not represent real Texans!

    April 17, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. Sam

    Riiight. Perry said the same thing, 3 different ways on 3 different occasions THIS week alone.

    April 17, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. Expat American

    So the GOP branded Cat Stevens a traitor and a terrorist, while Perry is allowed to slide because he sells propane and propane accessories?

    Something stinks in the Lone Star State.

    April 17, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. Joe in DE

    Be carfule Governor, you are flitin with Treason. Typical super-patriot with unAmerican ideas.

    April 17, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. JJ in Chula Vista, CA

    What's not so funny, whether he "meant it or not", is that so many Republican types took it seriously. And now that he's backtracked, watch how many of them say they're disappointed in Gov. Perry.

    In their imaginary world, disgruntled Republicans have a country of their own, where only they make the rules and only they are...right.

    April 17, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. snell

    dont know why people like these are elected into office. you shd be voted out.

    April 17, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  10. Mark

    Who cares what the liberal media says anymore

    Rev wright lets hear it!

    April 17, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. Gary Wayne

    I think Perry needs to be tried for treason. Can you imagine the outcry that would have happened if any Democrat had said this while Republicans are in power?

    April 17, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  12. chris

    He needs to be under fire for his remarks. Hes a traitor

    April 17, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  13. Steve Platt

    But...but there are many of us Northerners that WANT Texas to leave....

    April 17, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  14. Laura

    I am an American first, and a Texan second. I am a Texas democrat and I wish we would be distinquished as such versus Texas Repulicans who are the ones Perry referes to in clarifying his remarks Thursday, " Perry also said he has "never been prouder of Texans" for standing up to Washington, DC." And thousand of republican Texans voted for Obama because they see where the republican party is going – at least the fools who get elected. Or I should say were elected. I doubt we will see Perry around for the next time.

    April 17, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. Al Mellen

    You texans sure have a nack for putting your foot in your mouth,. George Bush 1,,,,,read my lips,,,,,,,,no new taxes. i would like to mention George Bush junior's foot in mouth statements,,,,,,,this column more than likely has a limit as to the length of words,,,,therefor i will only say,,,,,his miscues would take several weeks to mention all of them. It is really truly amazing that the average citizen in America does not have the ability to truly understand what our elected leaders are saying at any given time,,,,,,,,gimme a break. Why don't you politicians just shut up,,,,,,or say something truthful for a change.

    April 17, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Brandon

    It was the coward's way of making a point. The I don't think this but "other people" may say.... He should either say he believes this is a great union and be done with it or say he wants Texas to secede. This other people are thinking stuff is his trying to be on both sides of the issue.

    April 17, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. Raze

    And I've never been so proud of Texans. For standing up to you.

    April 17, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. Who Shot JR?

    His comments are going to come back in hurt him in the primaries. We'll see how independent Texas is once hurricane season comes along.

    April 17, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. Rich in Seattle

    No, we understand what he was saying. He should be investigated for treason. Furthermore, someone with those views should NOT be holding public office.

    When did Republicans become so un-American.

    Should the new slogan for Texas me "What's wrong with Texas?"

    April 17, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. FED UP

    This is the most ridiculous elected official I've ever seen. He is not only an embarassment to his home state, but to our country. You may not agree with everything the new administraion does, because sometime I don't. But to make a statement like that shows a person of little intelligence and like the rest of the whiny republicans that feel like the country as we know it is coming to an end, someone with not a single original idea that just has to revert to trashing their own county as a response. Republicans need to realize that the more they complain like children by throwing arizona iced tea (which is an american product, so I'm sure they appreciated the rise in sales for the day) into rivers, they are isolating themselves as a party and sealing their fate. Good luck to all you republicans that are still holding onto this grudge of losing, I'm sure it will all work out one day.

    April 17, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Vince

    In the video he states "we will not be ignored". You mean like those of us on the left were ignored for the past 8 years? Well, we spoke up. We voted. Now the right is out of power and they are very unhappy about it. Well, I'm sorry to inform you that you now have to wait your turn. Maybe you'll get some of that power back in 2010, maybe not. Maybe you'll get in all back in 2012, maybe not. For now, the people have spoken and the right is OUT. You're naysaying will not change the resolve of the Obama administration to bring dignity and prosperity back to this nation. Should he succeed, then the right is REALLY in trouble. Should he fail, we are ALL in REALLY BIG trouble. Shouldn't we be banding together and working and hoping for SUCCESS?

    April 17, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. Christine Bork

    Mr. Perry, you obviously are no patriot nor lover of this country. What you have said is foolish to the point of being inflammatory and dangerous. That a sitting governor of one of our largest state's would say such a thing for his own political gain, a small potatoes parochial interest gain at that, is outrageous, unmanly, and small minded. Where is the high mindedness to serve the common interests of the people of your state, Sir?

    April 17, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. katiec

    Perry was trying to grab headlines and it backfired on him.
    Typical republican, doing anything they can in front of the cameras
    to get attention.
    Am sure he did not realize the American people have the intelligence to know he was totally out of line and as unAmerican as you can get.
    Many of our politicians today have lost sight of what they are
    elected to do which is do what is best for our country and us,

    April 17, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. Chris

    "Misinterpreted" ?

    I speak, write, and understand English.

    His very loaded comment came across loud and clear.

    April 17, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  25. Carl in CT

    Secession?... I have a three word answer.

    Appomattox Court House.

    April 17, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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