Perry fights back on secession claim
September 22nd, 2011
12:26 AM ET
12 years ago

Perry fights back on secession claim

Washington (CNN) - In his first nationally televised interview since launching his presidential bid, Texas Gov. Rick Perry fought back claims that he threatened the state's secession two years ago at a tea party rally in Austin.

"No, I never used that term at all," Perry told Fox News' Sean Hannity on Wednesday. "I have no idea, to be real honest with you, because it was never a factual bit of reporting."

At the time of the comment in 2009, Perry, a vocal critic of President Barack Obama's stimulus package, was arguing that the federal government was spending too much money.

"We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it," Perry said at the tea party rally. "But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."

The comment made national headlines and has since been used by critics to paint the governor as extreme.

But Perry decried the comment Wednesday, saying he wasn't referring to secession.

"But I get why people are frustrated, because they see Washington spending this massive amount of money," Perry said.

Perry also defended Wednesday his positions on Social Security and immigration, two issues his GOP opponents have used as ammunition against him.

He maintained his line that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme," one that will fail to later deliver benefits for young people who are now paying into it.

"I think Americans appreciate people being honest and upfront with them about Social Security," Perry said.

The presidential hopeful sparred with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at last week's CNN/Tea Party Republican Debate in Florida over the program, as both sought to prove they could best improve the system.

Perry said anyone who tries to pin him for wanting to end the program, rather than reform it, is using "scare tactics" that he deemed typically used by Democrats.

"The key is those that are on Social Security today, you don't have a thing in the world to worry about," Perry said. "We made a sacred pledge to you that it's going to be there and fully funded. Don't buy into this scare tactic."

Instead, Perry said the country needs to have a "grown up" conversation with a number of options on the table, including a raise in the retirement age and the use of private accounts.

Some Republicans have also targeted Perry for a Texas law allowing undocumented students who have applied for citizenship to pay in-state college tuition. Critics have attempted to align the law with Obama's DREAM Act, which blocks deportation for undocumented immigrants enrolled in education programs.

But Perry hit back Wednesday, saying the DREAM Act is "straight out amnesty," while the Texas law is an "education issue, not an immigration issue."

"We wanted individuals to be contributing members of society, not a drag on society," Perry said. "That's the American way."

Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry • Social Security • Texas
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Herbie Walker

    You do lie, P-Rick!

    September 22, 2011 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  2. doight

    Perry's ideas would be make the US a wasteland.

    September 22, 2011 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  3. CA Dream USA

    Perry must have seen the latest polls ...Romney has taken the lead in some and is closing the gap in others...My question still remains why interview with Hannity on Fox Tea Party News ? Soft ball r-us when it comes to republican candidates....People who support Romney will never watch Fox Tea Party news...

    September 22, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  4. asrael

    So a politician got caught thumping his chest, no matter the exact language of his braggadocio, and now he doesn't like the result. Aw, shucks...

    September 22, 2011 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  5. Author Charlieg

    On the immigration issue, I present this case. A young couple, illegal immigrants, are picked up in LA Cal. and deported to Mexico. They immediately travel to a point somewhere between Northern Mexico and South Texas where the wife gives birth to her son. They do not know which side of the border they are on. They travel north, eventually arriving in New Jersey. They never report the birth of the child until he is enrolled in kindergarten. In Jersey they raise the child to speak English only with a Jersey accent. When the child is 18 years old, the child is arrested in a raid.

    What is the nationality of the child, Mexican, or American? Should he be deported as illegal? He may have been born in the US so may be a US citizen, or may have been born in Mexico. Nobody knows. What if Mexico decides he is an American citizen and rejects him. He does not speak Spanish. How do the conservatives handle this case?

    September 22, 2011 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  6. StevenB

    We can see why he is a tea party darling. Like their other darlings – Bachman, Palin, et al. he has no grasp on reality or truth and does, in fact, actively run from both as fast and as hard as he can.

    September 22, 2011 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  7. 1crusader

    You know, the line that many of the Tea Party/ Republicans have used for so long against the president: " Who is the real Barack Obama?" should be asked about their own leading candidate for president, Rick Perry. Perry has clearly told us who he is, and what he stands for, in his own words, in a book released less than 1 year ago.Regardless of how much he tries to tap dance around what he has said in the book, or on tape; it is clear that he has suggested the possibility of Texas seceding from the Union; that Social Security is based on a Ponzi Scheme, and that he doesn't just want to amend it, but dismantle the system, as we know it today, as he would also like to do with the Dept. of Education, and other federal agencies; all to make " Washington as inconsequential in your life as possible".Last week he tried to portray himself as a fair-minded person, because he allowed undocumented students to pay in-state college tuition,but says that it is dissimilar to the Dream Act because he views that as an immigration issue and amnesty.The Rick Perry who wrote " Fed Up" is the real Rick Perry.

    September 22, 2011 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  8. David Myers

    “Rick Perry: Texas Could Secede”

    AUSTIN, Texas - Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax "tea party" Wednesday with his stance against the federal government and for states' rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, "Secede!"
    Perry called his supporters patriots. Later, answering news reporters' questions, Perry suggested Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to secede from the union, though he said he sees no reason why Texas should do that.
    He said when Texas entered the union in 1845 it was with the understanding it could pull out. However, according to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Texas negotiated the power to divide into four additional states at some point if it wanted to but not the right to secede. (Huffington Post, (04/15/2009)).

    September 22, 2011 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  9. thomas

    Rick Perry , his book Fed Up . Shouldn't he be sued for plagiarizing Mein Kopf ?

    Rick Perry Mein Führer
    America pre war Germany

    September 22, 2011 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  10. 1crusader

    This is pathetic, and is really an insult to all rational, thinking people. I guess he expects us to disregard everything that he has said on tape, and written in a book that was published less than 1 year ago on secession, Social Security,the Dept. of Education,and just about all things pertaining to the federal government.How does he think that he can run away from his own words, in black and white, or his own image and voice on videotape?Pathetic!

    September 22, 2011 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  11. p

    The man is a joke.

    September 22, 2011 01:49 am at 1:49 am |

    Perry is a hypocrite,.. he spent huge amounts of Washington's money to renovate his Governor's mansion,.. stimulus money, that was meant for the general business sector.

    September 22, 2011 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  13. Dan in Atlanta

    Perry forgot to add that you should NOT read his book!

    September 22, 2011 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  14. ahetch

    Hey perry, we heard you say it on TV.

    September 22, 2011 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  15. Good stuff

    Perry is an idiot and a liar. We can read what he said. He's pro succession, pro illegals getting in-state tuition, and you better believe he plans on ending social security. It's not scare tactics it's what he has said.

    September 22, 2011 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  16. kierthos

    No, Perry didn't use the word secession. But he damn well tap-danced around it. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it" and "But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that." is the political version of "Nice business you have here, it would be a shame if something happened to it" and then trying to claim you were not talking about extortion.

    September 22, 2011 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  17. gar

    When will Perry quit being a drag on society?

    September 22, 2011 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
  18. Smitty

    Lies!!!!! plus you not fully stating what he said, him and c-list actor chuck norris was all for it, And than turned around asking for fema funds for the first wild fires and crying that Obama wasn't doing enough to help, the GOP cry about spending but are first with their hands out asking for it!

    September 22, 2011 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  19. KWilson67

    Perry 2012~

    September 22, 2011 05:00 am at 5:00 am |

    The Texas two step won't help Rick Bush. He won't stop talking.

    September 22, 2011 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  21. Marie MD

    Another lying secessionist. You said it. It's on record. Maybe you can ask "your god" to erase it from everyone's memory. Just like praying for the rain you are still waiting for you fool!

    September 22, 2011 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  22. Tony in Maine

    Yet another weasel.

    I guess it depends on what the definition of secession is. Maybe he meant just "sece," not the whole thing. Or maybe he was just storytellin' and when country boys storytell, it's entertainment, kind of like the slickers and their SNL/

    What? Rick Bob's nose grew again, you say?

    September 22, 2011 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  23. The Other Dale

    Okay, if you didn't mean that, what did you mean? It doesn't sound like Texas would just write a complaint to the newspaper the next day if "Washington" didn't do what you wanted. Ah, but I see you never explained THAT part. Perry has a bad habit of saying "but – but this guy over here is MUCH worse than me" when shown how screwed up he is. Sorry, that doesn't make you doing something wrong suddenly right, Rick.

    September 22, 2011 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  24. Larry L

    An now the back-tracking starts... I wonder if he'll deny calling the Boy Scouts a "club that promotes homosexuality"? What a liar! He shoots-off his mouth to get Tea Party attention then denies the comments we all heard him make! Just another slimy politician devoid of any level of honor. Go eat another corney dog or pray for rain. Those are things you do well (too well....)

    September 22, 2011 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  25. Dave

    One thing you have to love about Perry and pretty much all Republicans is that they are absolutely never wrong. They will blame everyone and everything, but you know darn well they will never take responsibility for anything. These people can't even own up to their own comments and, in typical Republican fashion, they attack the media. Perry wants to have a "grown up" conversation? Please... He acts like a child and talks like a child. Thus, he should be treated like a child.

    September 22, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
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