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. HM

    Rick Perry has lost my vote. Anybody for governor over him (except for Sarah). I live in Texas and called the idiot's office yesterday. Who exactly gave him the right to have Texas leave the USA? What a moron. I intend to donate to whoever runs against Perry in 2010. VOTE PERRY OUT!!!!!

    April 17, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. Get Well Soon GOP

    The last Texas Gov. we listened to is the one who got us in this mess.

    April 17, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Fitz in Texas

    Stick to you guns Gov. Perry. Just because these anti-Americans didn't understand what you said is no reason for you to apologize. I for one, along with millions of other Americans don't want to live under socialism and fascism. I don't want the government controlling my life and sticking their nose in my business.

    If anyone should apologize it's Obama and his administration for slowly killing this great country and turning Americans against one another!!! I'm still waiting for Eric Holder to apologize regarding his nation of cowards remark. Why is these liberals can say whatever they want and get by with it. Yet, if we say something they don't want to hear they want us to apologize. Well, FORGET IT!
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have."
    -Thomas Jefferson--

    April 17, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. bobo

    I'm not a big fan of Gov Good Hair, but this is America and we still have the right to express our own opinions. This constant division of Americans is all by design it keeps us confused and off balance. That's why were in the mess we are in. The Pols. keep us divided and they get to spend spend spend with out any one to stop them. By the way both parties are exactly the same, like a two headed nickel.

    April 17, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. Jamey

    When will these guys learn that words have an exact meaning.

    April 17, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. Jody

    And for those of you who say he has backtracked, he has not. If you would read his orginial comments, they are the same as he is saying today. You people are morons.

    April 17, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Secessionists are traitors...

    April 17, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. R in Maine

    He meant it. He is a traitor. It is Texas afterall. That is the kind of people that they are. Is he going to tell us that Texas does not have an extradition agreement with the United States,

    April 17, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  9. native texan walt

    I'm tired of folks who keep reminding us that Texas entered the union with the right to secede. That may have been true in 1845 but in 1861 they seceeded with the confederacy and came back to the union in defeat and surrender, no special deals then. I am a native Texas and want the world to know that GWB and Perry are not our best products.

    April 17, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  10. Beth

    Right Perry, you just go and stand up against DC, and when the next hurricane hits, you will be on your knees begging for Federal bucks, or doesn't that count?

    April 17, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  11. Dieter Zerressen, Denver, CO

    Go! We in Colorado will nationalize any property belonging to any Texan. That should give us back half of our resorts and mountain vacation homes. Also all US companies should be given a choice: operate in the rest of the 49 or in Texas – not both. Then withdraw all the defense industries and close the military bases and shut down the northern border. Then just stand by and watch them disintegrate into internal shooting wars. It will be a warning to Alaska, Mississippi, etc. We'll get 'em back later with about half of the ego's.

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

    Much ado about nothing here. When he looks at his state's budget he will realize that without Federal moneis Texas will die a quick and painful death. Then the 29 states will have to determine what to do with all the Texan immigrants and Texas will likely become part of Mexico.

    April 17, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. R in Maine

    He meant it. He is a traitor. It is Texas afterall. That is the kind of people that they are. Is he going to tell us that Texas does not have an extradition agreement with the United States?

    April 17, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Carole

    I always liked a two-party system, until now. The Republicans scare me. The tea bagging that is so racist (Hence, do they know what 'tea bagging' is? LOL).

    This guy is unpatriotic and wants to be part of America when the government gets his state out of a disaster scenario or border patrol. Let's see how they hang by themselves. In other words, let this guy 'Hang High'.

    Let Texas go, and that will be more money for the rest of us. Also, take Alaska out too!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. cpaul

    you're calling this man um-American? that's disgusting, he clearly cares deeply about this country and wants it to get back to its original ideals.

    April 17, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. please

    No, please don't back track, I was just about to celebrate.

    April 17, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Sherry in SC

    I hope Texas does exactly that – and I further hope that South Carolina is right behind them. And the sooner the better. We'd be out from under this administration that wants nothing more than to sink America and take complete and total control. This administration sounds more and more like Sadam Hussein everyday – it's their way or the highway. Obama, Holder, Pelosi, Reid, Dodd want nothing more than power, power, and more power. It's gotta stop somewhere and soon. Time for TRUE Americans to fight and take back America before it is too late.

    April 17, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  18. sammieb51

    How many more times are the Republicans going to "misspeak" before they get the message that people ARE listening to them and DON'T like what they are hearing? I would like just once for one of these guys to step up the mike and say, "Hey, I said it alright!". They always have an excuse though!

    April 17, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Paul

    Geez, where were all the proud Texans standing up to Washington during the Bush years?
    Three months of Obama and Washington is gone to pot? While the 8 previous years that set the stage for corruption and decay of our values and society were what?

    April 17, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. ldk

    Wow. Its amazing to read the comments here and on Fox. I have trouble believing that these are actually people claiming to be Americans. Your (conservatives) sense of America is warped beyond belief. You stop at nothing to criticize and condemn anyone and everyone that disagrees with you. Many of you are extremely petty, immature, and vile – if not downright dangerous. I hope Texas does secede. Will make a nice big buffer between us and Mexico.

    April 17, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  21. Linda from Minnesota

    Man, I don't know what has happened to this country. People are so divided. No one wants to see the other point of view, everyone criticizes our new president, no one wants to give him a change to get things fixed. My parents were democrats but they sure didn't carry on like the left does now.

    My in-laws were republicans and would be rolling over in their grave to see how the religious right zealots have changed their party of small government and fiscal responsibility into a party that wants to dictate and decide about abortions, gay marriage and the like.

    How did we get here and why have we allowed the religious zealots to become such a force? Separation of church and state? Not so much anymore.

    We don't need terrorists to break up this country, we're doing a fine job ourselves.

    April 17, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  22. Myassis Dragon

    How many times can you think of in say the last 90 days where these Republican hate mongers have come out with these vile statements only to say a day later that they didn't mean what they actually said. We want President Obama to fail, we hope the AIG people commit suicide, we want Texas to succeed. Notice the pattern? Oh...I was misinterpreted is no excuse. Yell fire in a theatre then later say you were misinterpreted...

    April 17, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. Watchful Cowboy

    I am an America First and Texan second – I believe that the USA is better off with Texas as part of the union just as Texas is sure better off being part of the USA. I have pride in my state – just as each of you have pride in your state. Unfortunately – I have no pride in Perry!

    April 17, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. LIP

    So, one of the largest of the reporting medias misinterpreted exactly what he said and changed the content to represent something other than what was said and took it out of context and now they are running more stories of the same with another misleading headline, when clearly he said nothing of Texas succession from the union.
    Clearly confusing.

    April 17, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. dave

    BS. this guy knew what he was saying and it was a mis-quote he said it. This is a total shame we had Nixon and GW.Bush and you didn't hear opposition leaders talk like the GOP no matter how much they disagreed.

    April 17, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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