Perry not ready to praise Obama's handling of Hurricane Irene
August 27th, 2011
10:22 PM ET
11 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. Amjo

    What an arrogant, arrogant man he is. Just what we need another good "ole boy from Texas. No thanks.

    August 27, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  2. Mary555

    Of course not. Perry is an idiot. Just wait till Perrys pay for play politics in Texas is revealed. America will see what a dirtbag Perry really is.

    August 27, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  3. jennifer in Houston

    However, admit it Governor we were very happy to have FEMA and Federal help after IKE.

    August 27, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  4. writermom16

    Actually, don't care whether pretty Rick praises Obama for Irene or not. And Christie (my gov) still looks and acts like a bully. Even in a tough situation.

    August 27, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  5. GonzoinHouston

    Obama could walk out upon the water, still the hurricane, and walk back carrying the secrets to end war and cure cancer, and Perry would still insist he was a terrible president. Never mind the sound bites and bumper stickers, if any sane person takes a good hard look at what has gone on during the Perry administration here in Texas, they would either toss their cookies or roll over laughing. First he balanced the state budget with funds from Obama's stimulus effort, then when such funds weren't available, he slashed education rather than reconsider his tax cuts. Disgraceful!

    August 27, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  6. The Poor > The Rich

    Unfortunately about all Obama (or anyone) could have done as a leader in the two situations (earthquake/Irene) is make a speech and/or dispatch government agencies like FEMA to help...

    But lemme see... Tea Baggers HATE Obama's ability to make a coherent speech and would really hate his using "Big Guv'ment" agencies and spending money to help their fellow Americans.

    Face it, Obama is forever viewed with a damned if he does, damned if he doesn't mentality these Tea people and thats just how the GOP wants it!

    August 27, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  7. normajean

    WHAT DID YOU EXPECT HIM TO DO WITH IT? and what does it have to do with the economy?....You just can't miss the chance to take a cheap shot at the president when ever it strikes you.....well old boy..... the stories about you and your questionable tactics and misinformation about the workings of the state of Texas should really keep your mouth shut for quite a while.....but here you go shooting it off again.....Time to take a look in the mirror and then take your cowboy boots out of your mouth before you choke on them. You are already losing points as the truth comes out!!!!!

    August 27, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  8. independent

    If presidential candidates were vetted like Supreme Court nominees this guy would never come up for a vote. Look at his background. Look at his monied connections with cronies, lobbyists, donation buddies, disgusting. He leads the Republican Party ticket at the moment. What does that tell you?

    August 27, 2011 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  9. Namryan NC

    My goodness, this man is not a fair player! Definitely scary to think someone could consider him for the most powerful position in the world!

    August 27, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  10. Ca;ifornia Conservative

    How can anyone be? It's not even close to being over yet.

    August 27, 2011 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Perry won't praise Obama no matter what. It is too easy to praise Christie about what he has said and done; any governor would do this. How hard is to tell people to get out of harms way?

    August 27, 2011 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  12. beevee

    Now he wants to blame Obama for the hurricane and says it is due to global warming? Who cares about what this C/D grade undergraduate governor thinks. He boast of having created jobs in Texas, but I heard that they are minimum wage jobs. If this guy becomes president we will be a country of coolies working for minimum wages.

    August 27, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  13. Tanbiker2

    Well, we always knew that Ron Paul is a screwball, but at least he's not a religious fanatic like Rick Perry. I'm pretty confident that neither will ever be President and that Obama will be reelected in another landslide victory, which he has already earned.

    August 27, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  14. Tom

    5.9 earthquake is a "menacing" natural disaster?


    August 27, 2011 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  15. LegendRx

    Who are these people and what does this say about the american people who are considering this clown. America will be on it's last leg if another republican can highjack the presidency.

    August 27, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  16. Obama voter

    Perry doesn't have a plan of action for his own state let alone any other state. He made it clear about how he handles his financial emergency funds. This guy could care less.

    August 27, 2011 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  17. Trystan

    No one in their sane minds would even consider praising O.B.A.M.A (One .Big.Ass.Mistake.America). That termite everyone but a few like me call him president is a succabus to Great America. I hope that the minority who voted this succubus into office would get their heads out of their buttholes. Who actually thinks Obama did any good for this so called government for the people country. He did nothing NOTHING FACT

    August 27, 2011 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  18. Chrisg510

    Ask Perry about his pay for play politics.

    August 27, 2011 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  19. Larry L

    Of course Perry won't praise the President for anything. That might indicate Perry cares more about America than getting elected. This is exactly what's wrong with American politics – and especially the Republican Party. President Obama handles crisis scenarios masterfully, from hunting terrorists to Hurricane Irene. As a Texan I've watched Rick Perry destroy our state's education system and place our future in doubt. I will say I admired the way he went down on that corn dog at the Iowa State Fair. He needs to line up a taco or two to kill those persistent rumors...

    August 27, 2011 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  20. CaliforniaBC

    No, of course he won't offer praise to Obama. That'd be suicide for him or any GOP candidate. Far be it for one of them to act like a professional adult and acknowledge it when the leader of this country does a good job.

    Let me ask ya Perry...did ya praise Bush on his handling of Katrina??

    August 27, 2011 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  21. Name king

    Hey did you expect any fiferent answer from tea bagger number 2. This is the guys that cried to the president couple month back about his state natal disaster. He said that Obama policies was terrible. Yet he's taking all the glory for his state government jobs growth. I wonder if his state was doing badly, he would have taken the the blame. First they screamed that government is too big and government need to stay out of the way, Rick perry's state is growing in government jobs, while other repugs governors are laying off government workers left and right, I wonder how that makes the tea. He shouts about were tax too much, the found out 35 percent of corporations pay no taxes and tax level are at a 60 year low. Now the only thing left to attack Obama are regulations. I wonder how these regulations are causing companies to make more money in any time in history. These are some terrible terrible regulations that are sucking money from companies making them so broke that they cannot pay their bills much less to hire folks. Which one is it. Are these regulations making companies profit or they are sucking out the life out of them. I want you guys to find this out. These repugs have mad lies into a fashion statement and their is no repugs to fight them on these crazy talking points before Obama get pressured into agreeing with their voodoo economics. Where is wiener???
    baggers feel

    August 27, 2011 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  22. mark

    Rick Perry is a theocratic Ayatollah waiting to be installed into power. I just hope there aren't enough stupid Americans for this to happen. I know that there are millions because they elected George W. Bush, TWICE.

    August 28, 2011 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  23. Anonymous

    I'm not a democrat, but I don't think any president can do much about an earthquake or a hurricane.

    August 28, 2011 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  24. Rick McDaniel

    The answer was a fair one.

    August 28, 2011 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  25. af

    Republican candidates are all hypocrites. that is it

    August 28, 2011 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
1 2 3