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. Jim B

    Well he got one thing right and that was "shrink government." So exactly how much is he shrinking the TX government? What departments is he downsizing? Let's see him put is money where his mouth is and not just the typical rhetoric. Apparently TX doesn't need and will reject any stimulus assistance. That would be an outstanding contribution to his fellow Americans who sorely need stimulus assistance. We shall see.

    April 17, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. CG

    This is unbelievable. First of all I'm not buying the retraction or clarification. Second, where were these people during the Bush years? They want to secede because of a 3% hike in takes on the wealthy? Sounds rather opportunistic to me.

    I say return Texas to the Mexicans if they want out so badly.

    April 17, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. DL in VA

    you can consider the federalist papers as a source for states rights and an interpretation of the 10th Amendment, but that only tells the beginning of a story that ends with the Civil War. I'm not saying it's exactly analogous, but "states rights" was an argument for slavery if a state wanted it. Because we're not a Nation if a state has more power than the federal government, the 14th Amendment requires that the states fall in line and are more beholden to the federal government.

    Just like Jefferson wanted. (You know him, the guy that wrote the Declaration of Independence.)

    April 17, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Susan

    Typical Republican rhetoric - blame the listeners! He said what he said and it was very clear. The fault belongs with the speaker, not the listeners!

    April 17, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. Darrell

    Ha....he is a good person. But texas hasn't seen a tax it didn't like either....so the whole thing is kind of funny.

    April 17, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  6. Clinton Fringer

    As someone who lives in Texas............only a few may be upset and are only using it for political gain. The vast majority was pretty happy about his statement. As a registered Democrat I am finding it increasingly funny how the left swingers seem to think theirs is the only voice to be heard and the only ones with the right to opinion. And while I am on my soapbox............the only treason around is the homeland security department putting out that returning vets are terrorists.

    April 17, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. eris

    I must ask these folks who claim President Obama is stepping on their constitutional rights; were you howling this loud about the Constitution while Gorge W. used it as his personal toilet paper? Lets face it, that man hacked away at the document as much as he could.

    Let Texas go, take every federal penny, federal job, and every federal program away. Oh- and they need to return every penny they received from "big" government in the past 9 years. Lets see how great they do.

    April 17, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Matt

    No it was not misinterpreted....it was very clear what he was trying to say: If the minority of this country does not get its way, then we will leave the union ("Washington thumbing its nose...) Washington is not thumbing its nose with the majority of Americans actually support what the president is doing...not just 23%.

    April 17, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. the real common sense

    It is flattering to see so many posters who have critical thinking skills. Sure there are idiots who think that Gov. Perry was justified in making those idiotic comments. He is spewing hateful rhetoric hoping that some illiterate idiots go to the extreme. These Republicans need to stop! They are the ones who are dividing this nation. Unless, the negative rhetoric stop, our country is going to have a domestic war of good v evil thanks to people like gov. Perry, Limbaugh, Hannity, O'reilly, among others on Fox news.

    April 17, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Paul

    Bernie Madoff should be tried for treason, same as the Enron criminals.

    Perry should be dismissed as treasonous in thought, and anti American in act.

    To have such disdain for your country, would hate to feel that way.

    April 17, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. Jackpine savage

    For better or worse, we are the UNITED States. The answer isn't to make threats or pick up your ball and go home simply because you can't have everything your way. The answer is to find solutions through the democratic process in the way that the Founding Fathers intended.
    Having said that, should Texas ever reach the point of following through on the threat of secession, the prudent thing for the remaining 49 states to do would be to preemptively sell Texas to Mexico. They'd like to have it back, we'd decrease our illegal immigrant population and, quite frankly, we could use the money. It's a win/win all the way around and Guam would love to become the 50th star on our flag.

    April 17, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. Zion

    Here's my problem with the new GOP that scared me away from the Republican Party. They are only about raw emotions. Even if you look at the sorts of people that now comprise the new base of the Republican Party, it contains mostly bigots, and those who believe that patriotism is equivalent to being white. Until Republicans understand that Rhetoric of any sort is never harmless or neutral, they will continue to be scorned by those Republicans that reject those sorts of antiquated ideas. Unfortnately, that sort of removal from responsibility leads to riots, and senseless killings done by the vulnerable people who may be legitimate victims in our society.

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

    Lighten up people!

    Perry's comments tie into a long history in Texas. We are the only state with ten years of history as our own nation. We are an independent lot and part of our agreement with the United States upon coming into the union was that we would always have the right to leave without reprisal.

    It's not a bad thing for those in Washington to keep in mind. We are a Republic of states and the founders wisely LIMITED the power of the federal government.

    As for Washingon's money, I think most Texans would be happy to reject all of it in exchange for keeping all we send. I have no doubt that in 2009 -2010 we will give far more to the feds than we will receive back. Most of us in Texas will be so very happy to be spending our life savings and our children's futures on bailing out the foolishness of those who work on Wall Street, and own and sell homes and mortgages in California and Florida. Local control of banks and mortgages would have prevented this entire mess.

    April 17, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. Lori

    Why aren't the Republicans dixie-chicking this guy? I guess saying 'I'm ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas' warrants death threats, CD burning and children chanting 'they hate the Dixie Chicks' but this moron Governor is a hero to the Republicans for saying he would like to secede. Hypocrisy yet again! Hatred of our new President is o.k but God forbid, the President is Republican then you're deemed 'unpatriotic'. Now, we know that it is the Republicans who are truly unpatriotic!

    April 17, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. Dave

    Travel Slogan:
    Texas, not just like a whole 'nother country. It IS a whole 'nother country.

    April 17, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. jon,philadelphia

    I've been to Texas and frankly I wouldn't miss it if it left. The Rpeublicand get all up in arms(no pun intended) when you call them radicals and the Perry opens his mouth.
    As far as I'm concerned, every backward thinkiong red state can leave. I won't miss them and I doubt the country will. Let;'s remember, because of them we got eight years of Bush/Cheney.

    April 17, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |


    April 17, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Johnny Rocket

    Don't mess with Texas! It's not right to make fun of retards.

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

    Just another big mouth trouble maker from Tex ass.
    Kick him where he spends most of his time.

    April 17, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  20. mac

    Texas: Goodbye, good luck, and good riddance!

    April 17, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  21. J S Ragman

    "Never been prouder of Texans"???? Where were all of these so-called fiscal conservatives during the previous Clown President's administration? This is soooo Texas! I was born in Tx and lived there until the age of 40. It wasn't until I had been gone for awhile that it became clear just how cuccooned from the real world that these folks are. If they are really thinking about seceding maybe they can take Oklahoma and Kansas with them.

    April 17, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  22. Brian

    That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

    Yeah – bunch of traitors.

    April 17, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  23. carlo

    This is really sad. When there are these types of talk about secession and revolution, its usually called treason. I say let the 25% of the racists in America have Texas, but give us all of the federal stuff back to us.

    April 17, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. Tree

    This is what Gov. Perry said ""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."

    Where in that does it say that Texas should, would, could secede???? Hmmmmm..... let's not read into what he said LIBS. Trust me, the country would faulter if Texas left the Union. Texas wouldn't be better off if we did either, it would be a lose – lose situation. But don't get on these message boards thinking that your world would be better without Texas. Not quite. Don't hate us because we have a lot of state pride, something that a lot of you can't say about your place of residence. Why is it that people are retiring to Texas, is it because we have a bunch of whack's? No, it's because we offer a safe, conservative place to live that oh by the way doesn't rake you over the coals with a state tax.

    Get over yourselves LIBS. Let's talk about Obama real quick. Why did he ask Georgetown to cover up all of the religious references IN THE SANCTUARY no less, so he could give a speech there. THAT'S FREAKING CRAZY!!!! Also, Obama is open to talking with Castro and Chavez???? What is this guy thinking? We are in trouble.

    April 17, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  25. Neebrecker

    This is treason!!! Treason, treason, treason.

    And speaking as a socially conservative from Nebraska, the fact that there are republicans who would say something so blatantly, completely UN-AMERICAN really does makes me scared about what has happened to my party.

    And I think it highlights a difference between people from the South and people from the Midwest.
    The way I was brought up, the phrase "love it or leave it" only has one remotely possible answer – LOVE IT. Apparently to these Southerners, who seem to have taken over the republican party, "leave it" is possible.

    Face it, we lost this round. The majority of Americans support the policies of Obama.

    True sports fans support their team no matter what. True patriots also support their country no matter what. These absolutely despicable Southerners are NOT true patriots. Southerners seem willing to dump on their country the second they don't get every single thing they want.

    April 17, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
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