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. disgusted

    It wasn't misinterpreted. When there are people in the crowd yelling for secession and you are talking about secession, you are fanning the flames. There should be consequences.

    April 17, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. rand

    Perry was simply fueling the cause for a very small percentage of his constituents. Stupid move and he may have just handed over his Governorship to Ms. Hutchinson.

    The number of Tea Bag Protesters was around 200,000 nationwide. I feel sorry for those misguided souls who had been coerced into this protest by folks that pay LESS percentage of tax than the protesters. In any case, they are far right wingers that are feeling pissed off because their beloved GOP ways are disintegrating before their eyes.

    April 17, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  3. drc

    Hmm, not too many months ago, DISSENT was patriotic...but I guess they only mean dissent when it suits their goals.

    I wish one of the states would seced and I'd move there in a second...the primary reason could be 28% of my salary to the federal goverment, 6.75% to NYS, 8.25% sales tax, 59 cents a gallon for fed/state gas tax, 12k in property/school taxes, 5% home heating tax, and countless other taxes that would have our FOUNDING FATHERS ROLLING OVER IN THEIR GRAVES.

    My other option is moving out of the country when I'm ready and the 50% of the population that does not pay federal income taxes can somehow manage to scrounge up the 28% I won't be paying anymore.

    April 17, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. John in Ohio

    Careful, get the Republican base all worked up like this, then go back on them, and they're liable to get all riled up and direct their blind unreasoning anger at you.

    April 17, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. Slaton , Cambridge MA

    And how much federal money does Texas take every year ?

    April 17, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. joe

    Not sure what was unAmerican about his speach? Is it not American for people to stand up for what they believe in? Is it not American to have freedom of speech? That is why our Soldiers are and have died so we have the right to say what we feel. That is American!

    April 17, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. Kim

    "Misinterpreted". Um, okay.

    April 17, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. What's The Problem?

    Paul, 'Sedition' is how we got created our Republic in the first place. Defending the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic is the duty of every citizen, and make no mistake, our federal government over the past decades has become the enemy of the people, regardless of which of the corporate duopoly is in power at any particular time.

    April 17, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. HUGH USARMY coldwar vet

    Perry should secede his governorship. Remember the Alamo! Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie must be turning over in their graves!

    April 17, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    If by "thumbing your nose", Perry, you mean the less than 1% (depending on whose figures you use) of the American people who attended the Fox News nation-wide temper tantrum Wednesday, then I'd say you, not Washington, has the problem. Having such a low turnout put a dander in your pandering rhetoric, didn't it? America has seen the placards these protesters carried. Pander away.

    April 17, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. Anne

    He doesn't speak for all of Texas, but if he doesn't like being part of America- then he should leave. Everyone has the option to leave if they don't like it here.

    April 17, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. Trevor Wisconsin

    Perry's comments are a deliberate act of treason, and he should be forced out of an office that is meant for true americans.

    April 17, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. T from MO

    Treason is also a betrayal of trust. It does not matter if the acts are performed knowingly and it does not matter the position the perpetrator holds, it is still treason. Bankrupting the country for the sake of temporary prosperity, placing the citizens in this country under debilitating debt in the name of short-term recovery and feeding the anger toward the prosperous while heralding the idea of understanding. These acts are a betrayal of trust. Do not blame this man for offering solutions to save his constituents regardless of how far-fetched they are. At least he is making an attempt.
    And the argument: "Well Bush did it" is juvenile and does not justify Obama's actions. Just like the "Where were the protestors during Bush's term?" question – believe me, there were plenty of them.
    Please, think of something new and don't repeat what everyone else posts.

    April 17, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. shs

    There are as many sane, reasonable people in Texas as any other State. They need to show up at the polls in greater numbers and get rid of nuts like Gov. Perry. We'd have a much better government in every State and nationally if people would just do that.

    April 17, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. Ms. White

    I do believe for Texas to secede, the state would be divided into 5 seperate states and the federal land would still belong to the Feds...

    April 17, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. EDR

    Clearly there are millions of Americans (58 million or so voted against the current administration) who feel this country, and everything it was founded upon, is being turned upside down and taken away. There is a blatant effort to belittle the greatness of this country's history, and future for that matter (taking it to far left extremes). It's no wonder that some feel they would rather leave than fall victim to this ruin. But, in the end the spirit of Americans who made this country great will triumph and the bonds that hold us together will be made stronger.

    April 17, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. John in Ohio

    "When Texas entered the union they maintained the right to succeed (in writing) they are the only state with that right."

    No they didn't, they maintained the right to break up into 5 separate states.

    Personally, I'd rather they secede.

    April 17, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. Imagine, Houston

    Imagine the Texas-USA partition: all extreme right-wingers and confederacy-types move here and the rest of us move out to the USA making sure the northern border is tightly sealed behind us!

    April 17, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. Jonathan

    I have lived in Texas all of my life, and I have embarassed by Rick Perry ever since Karl Rove (yes, that Karl) convinced the former Democratic party Perry to run for the Rethuglican party.
    His lock step right wing GOP ideology is yet another dissappointment.

    April 17, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. Angela

    I am telling you all this right now. This divisive talk (even if it was a mistake) is just what the terrorists want. If we are divided, then we are easier to fall. You all watch and learn, and as we are hunkered down is holes, you will be telling you children and grandchildren why they cannot go outside to play. This country is scary right now. The conservatives WANT this to happen to control you even more!! WATCH YOUR BACK!!!

    April 17, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  21. Jody

    I am a Texan and though I am not a big Rick Perry fan, I see nothing wrong with his statements. In his original statements he supported this country as is. He aslo said that if it continues in the direction it is going, it is possible for sessesion to happen. And I would not be against that. I was not a fan of the previous administration but even more less of a fan of the current one. They both have taken us down roads we do not need to be going down. Some are similiar paths and some have nothing in common, but will only weaken our economy even worse and shake us off the foundations that our nation has been on for so many years. We pretty much are owned by foreign business and gov't already. It won't be long before we are America no more.

    April 17, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  22. Jim

    He should be on trial for treason, bottom line. If a brown skinned leader of a state had said the same thing under the Bush regime, he would be in Gitmo right now.

    April 17, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  23. Abrham Lincoln

    Let Texas secede and put an embargo on them like Cuba. Give the actual americans there a few days to evacuate and leave the rest to their own devices. They wouldn't make it a week before becoming a lawless mess of losers with Texas flags drinking their own urine to survive. Then when they come crying to join america again we refuse them full statehood and relegate them to the second class citizens they are.

    April 17, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  24. andrew

    good for him!

    April 17, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. phoenix86

    Texas would be better off without the rest of the US. Texas is carrying California, New York, CT, MA, etc. The economy of Texas is being used to carry the new liberal welfare state.

    April 17, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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