Perry not ready to praise Obama's handling of Hurricane Irene
August 27th, 2011
10:22 PM ET
12 years ago

Perry not ready to praise Obama's handling of Hurricane Irene

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – As Hurricane Irene strikes and spooks large parts of the U.S., Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is not yet ready to praise President Barack Obama's handling of the storm.

The Texas governor appeared at a county GOP picnic in Des Moines on Saturday. During an exchange with reporters, Perry was asked if the president has been an effective leader during a week that saw two menacing natural disasters: an earthquake and currently the hurricane.

Though Perry would not cast judgment, he did cast his answer in overtly political terms.

"He has been an absolute disaster as a president from the standpoint of our economy. That's what people are really focused on," Perry said. "Taking a snapshot of whether or not he's appropriately dealt with the hurricane - I don't know yet. I'll tell you when the hurricane's over."

The Texas governor was, however, ready to praise another elected leader: fellow Republican, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. On Friday as Irene approached, the Garden State governor sternly told New Jersey residents and tourists to "get the hell off the beach."

Perry praised Christie's evacuation warnings.

"He was spot on with that. Chris Christie is a governor who gets it," Perry said. "Those governors of those states along the Eastern Seaboard are the ones that are actually going to be making the decisions that save the lives, that prepare for this hurricane, that do the search and rescue, and then frankly - do the first part of the recovery."

Meanwhile, the Texas governor would not sign onto comments made by fellow GOP presidential contender Ron Paul. At a GOP event in New Hampshire on Friday, the Texas congressman said the nation could do without the Federal Emergency Management Agency - the entity that helps coordinate the response to a disaster.

Paul spoke to the Republican crowd before Perry, reiterating his oft-stated Libertarian principles of less government intrusion in state affairs and the lives of private citizens.

Asked if he agreed with Paul's lashing of FEMA, Perry criticized the agency - but stopped far short of saying the nation could do without it.

"I just think FEMA needs to be effective," Perry said. "They need to be able to help the people when they have natural disasters across this country. We've seen FEMA not perform to the level, from time to time. They can be slow, they can be bureaucratic."

Perry continued: "Is there a better way to do it? Is there a better way to coordinate with the states? Listen, nobody knows better how to deal with the issues of preparations, search & rescue than the local governments."

- Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: 2012 • FEMA • President Obama • Rick Perry • Ron Paul
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. LNB

    "FEMA needs to be effective" Like Katrina effective?

    August 28, 2011 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  2. logic in LA

    He's a Republican- there will never be praise for a Democrat.

    August 28, 2011 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
  3. Dee

    Who cares what this idiot moron from Texas thinks? Oh yeah his cult Tea Bagger followers. The rest of us certainly don't!!

    August 28, 2011 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  4. bernice

    CROOK & lier...just what our country needs..another Texan that looks like he jist jumped off the back of a horse..

    August 28, 2011 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  5. johnson

    Speaking out of both sides of his mouth, nothing new hear. How has the President been disaster for the economy? He cannot possibly be successful without congress backing him, everyone know's this. If congress fails, he WILL fail, that is the goal of the house of reps right now. Drag the economy down so much which in turn will create public doubt about the president and the foolish American public will vote us republicans back in office. Romney is being very very quite, I believe most of the candidates know that they can't get elected, this is all a plan. The candidate are acting extreme so that when romney or christie come out later on in the campaign they will seem moderate and the public will thing that they are republicans worth voting for. They are attacking Obama from ALL sides of any given issue and will get worse as time goes on, our President has been wounded by them. It amazes me that we would elect any republican this day and age, rewarding them for being obstructionist then expecting our country to achieve greatness (what a laugh).

    August 28, 2011 05:28 am at 5:28 am |

    Keep talking yourself into the ground Rick Bush.

    August 28, 2011 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  7. JustMe

    No surprise there. As far as Perry (or any other GOP'er) is concerned Obama can do nothing right. I mean hell he was the man ultimately behind the killing of OBL (it was his idea to go in with boots on the grounds instead of just bombing) and they still didn't give him the credit the deserve and they instead tried to give to GWB and his administration despite the fact that GWB stopped looking for OBL probably back in 2003.

    August 28, 2011 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  8. matt houston

    Of course he isn't going to praise his opponent for handling Irene. He is going to get a prayer group together to praise God for Irene. After all, if God didn't exist, there'd be no Irene to speak of...according to their logic.

    August 28, 2011 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  9. proudmemberofglobalzero

    Common sense and respect is totally lacking in the GOP. Gov. Christie came out and thanked the President FIRST in his press conference.

    Jobs programs for the GOP. NO TAXES and NO REGULATION. That has help us so far these past 10 years...NOT

    August 28, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  10. DALE

    It doesn't matter. No republican will every agree with anything the president ever does, hence the reason we really don't care.

    August 28, 2011 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  11. Donaldk

    Rick Perry, I do know when you pray for rain, You should at least tell god that we need it in Texas. Not the east coast.

    August 28, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  12. Henry

    No time for honesty, only time for political posturing. Typical politician, typical Republican. Done talking.

    August 28, 2011 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  13. PaulC

    No surprise there. Six gun Perry wouldn't praise Obama if he found a cure for cancer.

    August 28, 2011 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  14. chris

    This dude is an idiot. If he praises governors saying that they are the ones who are actually making decisions when it comes to how to handle Irene, it's logic to say that they are the ones who are making decisions when it comes to jobs and the economy in general in their states. So if he can't praise Obama on how he is handling Irene, then he can't blame him on how he is handling the economy. It's just sad he can't be honest and praise Obama when he does something good but he can blame him for things he thinks are not doing great.

    August 28, 2011 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  15. T'sah from Virginia

    Perry just COULDN'T do it!!! Praised EVERYONE else but the President!!!! He COULDN'T even give a compliment on how FEMA is working with those in NC and doing a "helluva working with Gov. Perdue!!!" Perry PRAISES Chirstie for saying, "get the hell off the beach!" President Obama said – "take the warnings seriously.” Please tell me, what's the difference??? If Perry is just praising “pre-storm” statements because NO ONE knows how well the governors are going to do in the aftermath; nor the president, then they ALL should be judged the same!!!

    This is NOT Hurricane Irene – it's "Politi-CANE Irene!! I listened to all governors – even the Mayors – from EVERY state over the weekend and all of them did what they were supposed to do. All of them were televised from NC to Canada!!! President Obama did what he was supposed to do – declare state emergency and make sure FEMA was available for all states that would need them.

    President should NOT care about what Perry thinks about him – it'll NEVER be complimentary and he will NEVER get credit from the far-RIGHT. Just watch – one by one the Bachmanns, MITTens, Palins, Pauls, Santorums, Huntsmans etc., will come out and downgrade the President. What they expected from him was to STOP the hurricane from happening; he was supposed to “fly” in it and reverse the winds; therefore, he is a FAILURE as our leader!!! Pathetic!!!

    Obama/Biden 2012!!

    August 28, 2011 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  16. Sue

    Chris Christie didn't handle his job any differently than any of the other coastal state governors, but I guess because he has an "R" after his name that makes him special! I can hardly wait to see what what aspersions Mr. Perry will cast on President Obama, DESPITE the fact that he was front and center balancing a myriad of crises during his entire vacation. I find Mr. Perry to be highly delusional in his views. The fact that Texans elected this man multiple times to be their governor makes me question their intelligence and morals.

    August 28, 2011 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  17. Clwyd

    Rick, just secede and we will be done with you! Right wing Texas nuts should stay there or secede! A second Civil War to eliminate this kind of trash would be welcomed!

    August 28, 2011 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  18. Rumors in Austin say Perry likes the way one of his state chefs serves up his "hot dog"!

    Waiting for any racist tea bagger to praise President Obama is like waiting for the start of the first hockey game in Hell!

    August 28, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  19. w l jones

    Since Texas have a lot of experience with Hurricane I wonder why they did not take theirs knowledge to East Coast Governor in there time of need. There is no Snow in that area this time of years. Bless.

    August 28, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  20. Indy

    So is Perry saying that he will only praise Republicans for their efforts and saying "get the hell of the beach" is enough to get this C students approval. Is there no Republican alive that is Christian enough to praise his fellow man in a time of urgency ? Republicans can't take a day off from the blame game and even in natural disasters they have to cast judgement that the WORLDWIDE recession is all Obamas fault, heck Obama probably caused the hurrincane, no take that back, Glenn Beck said it was a blessing from God. Republicans are all over the map and the only thing we know for sure is they have no desire to help their fellow man and would rather see the country fail than work together for the good of the country.

    August 28, 2011 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  21. The Greedy Old Pigs have lost their minds!

    LOL! If anyone knows about "absolute disasters" it's Perry and his pig-stinkin' record as a Texas governor. No matter how much lipstick the GOBPbaggin' teatards put on his smarmy face, the facts are unchanged. The Texas budget is an epic disaster.


    August 28, 2011 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
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