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. jon

    Another Republican idiot heard from. They better concentrate on 2016 my friends.

    August 28, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  2. soporifix

    This ignorant yahoo belongs back in Paint Creek.

    August 28, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  3. snowyowl

    A bigger national disaster than Hurricane Irene strikes America every time that Rick Perry opens his mouth.

    August 28, 2011 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  4. Ralph

    "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." In other words, he will not say what he would do, he will just wait to see what Obama does and then play Monday morning quarterback and criticize him. Is that leadership?

    August 28, 2011 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  5. Point

    Talk about a hypocrit. The GOP cant acnowledge when Obama does anything right. Obama was telling people to heed the huricane warnings before Christie. If the economy turned around next week and unemployment went down by a full point they would try to find a way to make sure Obama doesnt get any credit.

    August 28, 2011 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  6. What news story?

    Perry is right; lets save our praise for the President until after there's a response to praise (or criticize)

    Seriously? THIS is what counts as a political news ticker story? "Rick Perry refused to offer comments today on the Presidents handling of a hurricane that is still off-shore and has yet to make land fall as of the time of this story being written."

    CNN has become a tabloid. Nothing more. Meanwhile, 2 ticker stories up, CNN is bashing Ron Paul for saying we need to get rid of FEMA, even though he's been saying this since Katrina, but apparently, CNN wants to run that little ideological nugget TODAY. Also, where is all the other stuff that Ron Paul has been saying CNN? Or are you truly as corrupt and biased as people are starting to realize?

    August 28, 2011 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  7. thomas

    Why isn't he in Texas , they are having the worst drought in 100 years ?

    Texas might need federal aid and Perry knows it !

    August 28, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  8. zip

    America will never elect a man that uses a curling iron. He is the male Michelle Bachmann. Without the vast intellect.

    August 28, 2011 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  9. ST

    The man continues to show his true colors. At this time of a disaster like this, the impact is felt by everybody regardless what party each individual belongs. Perry seems to be good for nothing!

    August 28, 2011 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  10. Captain America

    Of course they won't. These pretend governors who want to be president will have their hand out for assistance from the President and the Gov't but they can't seem to admit President Obama is doing the right thing. Not once have I heard anything positive from the GOP with regard to the President.

    Can't they respect the office of the President. Can't they give a small amount of respect for our current President? Nope!

    The GOP in power are a joke.

    August 28, 2011 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  11. drogo, the stallion that mounts the world almost

    Voters are really stupid for even considering this nut case for president. This is the guy George W Bush pretended to be...think about it.

    August 28, 2011 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  12. kat

    Are you kidding me, BHO did nothing about Irene, only cut his vacation short by one day while our economy is in the tank, we had an earthquake on the east coast and a hurricane coming, the only reason he left then is because it would be too wet for golf, what a joke!

    August 28, 2011 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  13. Tracie

    Really? What is Obama supposed to do Rick Perry? Personally go to every house and escort people off their property? Give me a break. It's a Hurricane that has been in the forecast for over a week now. He has told people time and agian to EVACUATE!!!! If these people didn't learn from Huirrcane Katrina about the unbelievable damage, death and destruction a hurricane can bring and are too dumb to get the hell out, then I don't know what else Obama can say? ??

    August 28, 2011 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  14. TEW

    Perry is a blithering idiot and don't know why CNN refuses to ask him follow up questions. Perry is the epidomy of the "Great White Hope" for Republicans. They are putting all their marbles on this horse for the 2012 election. He is not smart, TX is essentially run like a thrid world country with no health care, low paying jobs, poor education and a few folks that control the majority of the states wealth. all of whom have contributed significantly to Perry's past and present political endeavors. If this guy is trully who the Republicans want to run the country then then start hitting the panic button.

    August 28, 2011 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  15. Blake

    I spent over 12 hours sitting in a car not moving on interstate 45 trying to evacuate Houston before hurricane Rita. Perry was completely incompetent in handling that situation. And many years later, the evacuation bottlenecks are little improved. His grasp on reality must be tenuous to even consider discussion Obama's handling of Irene.

    August 28, 2011 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  16. Brad

    If Jesus was a democrat Perry would still say he sucked too...

    August 28, 2011 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  17. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Yahda, Yahda Yahda...

    August 28, 2011 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  18. BeverlyNC

    NO Republican is going to praise President Obama for ANYTHING. They would not even praise him when he got Osama bin Laden. If he cured cancer, they would criticize him. If he solved world hunger they would criticize him.
    Republcans do NOTHING for the American People but criticize President Obama who spends ALL his time working to restore the giant disaster Republicans created and still creating by obstructing EVERY jobs plan, every recovery plan, and Republicans brought down our economy for the 2nd time in 5 years by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. It was a GAME to them yet it brought down our credit rating and hurt the American PEOPLE. Think they cared? As long as the CORPORATIONS have all the money, power, and can still abuse you their workers Republicans are happy and get their CORPORATE campaign money. ALL Republican money comes from CORPORATIONS so who do you think they REALLY represent?? It sure is not the PEOPLE they swore an oath to SERVE. President Obama is a brilliant leader, a good and decent family man, and cares about ALL Americans as human beings. Republicans are the Party of HATE, LIES, and RACISM. They will keep destroying our nation and our chance to recover until we get ALL of them out of office in 2012!

    August 28, 2011 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  19. vic , nashville ,tn

    After Hurricane Ike Rick Perry didn’t allow the media fly over parts of Galveston He blamed the FEMA for that. Actually he didn’t want to see hurricane Katrina media coverage in Ike

    August 28, 2011 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  20. J.V.hodgson

    So governer Perry you want this left to local governors. In that case fine you really do not want Obama involved ! Also since there is a FEMA I see no reason why Obama should be headlined here, governors have the intial duty, they can call FEMA in if needed and if its not going well enough they can ask Obama to interfere, some how?
    It is no part of aPresidents job to be "the first port of call for action in a weather storm" now forecast for NY to be category 1. This is not the category 3 originally seen as possible. tay adds furthe perspective to your again unecessarily uncivil remarks and Shan travis for dreaming up catch but unrealistic headline. to this blog.

    August 28, 2011 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  21. lisa2010

    come on uncle perry, give credit where credit is due...many of the states along the eastern were warned way ahead of time... the president was preparing FEMA ahead of time when it left the bahamas... i wonder how would u do if elected president, would u have done like bush did after hurricane Katrina, wait until one to two weeks, after u bust out your calculator to see how much it would cost the government...remember all the local governments is under one leader and at this moment in time PRESIDENT OBAMA IS IT, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT...until u get elected (if u do) the God forbid, all the governments of the United States will be under YOU,,,,

    August 28, 2011 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  22. randy

    Doesn't anybody find it curious that the 'government agencies' fema, nws, hrc are all reporting that irene is carrying winds of 85 mph yet all the private weather networks can't find a wind gust even above 47 mph??? this Obama's version of 'wag the dog'? Oh well...better a fake hurricane than a fake war...I just can't wait to listen to him congratualte himself for the next three weeks.

    August 28, 2011 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  23. FIELD1stSGT

    He played Golf while Virginia burned. Why do you expect him to do anything about the Hurricane. The only thing burrhead did was to run for shelter.

    August 28, 2011 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  24. anyi Godwin

    Rick perry is been too myopic,he's not ready to be president

    August 28, 2011 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  25. crowtrob

    no fema for you

    August 28, 2011 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
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