Perry's weekend attention: Wanted or unwanted?
October 3rd, 2011
08:54 AM ET
9 years ago

Perry's weekend attention: Wanted or unwanted?

(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry grabbed headlines throughout the weekend, putting the campaign on defense following a couple controversy-filled days for the Texas governor.

A front-page Washington Post story Sunday exposed the eyebrow raising name of a hunting camp leased and frequented by Perry and his father. "Niggerhead" was painted across a rock at the gated entrance of the property, according to the report. But Team Perry was quick to clarify the account, issuing a harsh statement early Sunday morning after CNN contacted the campaign.

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele responded to TIME.

"A number of claims made in the story are incorrect, inconsistent, and anonymous, including the implication that Rick Perry brought groups to the lease when the word on the rock was still visible," Perry communications director Ray Sullivan said in a statement. "The one consistent fact in the story is that the word on the rock was painted over and obscured many years ago."

Sullivan said the governor's father, who the paper reported first leased the property in 1983, painted over the offensive language in the early 1980s. Sources quoted in the Post story said the word was visible until a few years ago.

The first reaction to the story from a Republican presidential candidate came from Herman Cain who appeared on two Sunday morning talk shows and called the property name "very insensitive."

On "Fox News Sunday," the former Godfather's Pizza CEO, who is African American, said there "isn't a more vile, negative word than the N-word, and for him to leave it there as long as he did, until before, I hear, they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country."

Perry's camp shot back again, this time directly to the GOP rival.

"Mr. Cain is wrong about the Perry family's quick action to eliminate the word on the rock, but is right the word written by others long ago is insensitive and offensive," Sullivan said in a statement. "That is why the Perrys took quick action to cover and obscure it."

While the ranch name consumed much of the Beltway chatter Sunday, it was Perry's comments about sending troops into Mexico to combat drug cartels that received the most attention Saturday.

"It may require our military in Mexico working in concert with them to kill these drug cartels and to keep them off of our border," Perry said after speaking at a house party in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Perry said the leaders of Mexico and the U.S. should meet after next year's elections to address the deadly drug trade in that country.

Campaign press secretary Robert Black said the border governor wanted to cooperate with the Mexican government and wasn't ruling anything out.

"He's going to work with the Mexican government to do what's necessary," Black said.

- CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.

Also see:

Cain's busy week

Perry open to sending troops to Mexico against drug cartels

McCain cautions Christie

Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain • Rick Perry
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Maybe this will cause Mr. Cain to shrug off his own brainwashing and realize that it is not about liberalism or consrvatism. Black Americans vote Democratic because of the racism on the far right.

    October 3, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. texan

    The only party he has is the Perry Party. ---- Best thing that could happen to the Republican Party. He`s got my vote to be THEIR candidate for Pres.

    October 3, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. Pat in il

    Perry's quest for the presidency is, and has bee from the start, completely ridiculous. He is too provincial and unsophisticated to play with the big boys and girls. He, very importantly, is I'll equipped to deal at all with foreign affairs or economy. Give it up, Perry, and save your money for retirement.

    October 3, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. Tyhouston

    Best they got on him was he visited a place where graffiti was on a rock YEARS before?

    Sounds like he's the man to win it if the defamation is that pathetic.

    October 3, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  5. moni

    who is rick perry??

    October 3, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. Ric Stevens

    Really .. the whole "N" word issue should be a non-issue..... STicks and stones and all that .. GROW UP.. GET PAST IT.. People will ALWAYS use the word for better or for worse.. heck.... remember .. In some langs. it MEANS black.. gonna change THAT too... DEAL WITH IT.. We are TIRED of hearing about Generational Guilt issues.. we are tired of having the issue brough out EVERY time someone wants to try to show someone to be racist etc...

    WORDS DO NOT HURT.... INTENT HURTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 3, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. bigb19

    Okay, so Perry went to a hunting camp with an offensive, and very racist word painted on a rock. What was he supposed to do about it? Was Perry supposed to demand that the rock be removed or painted? We don't know what Perry had done at that time, however, now it's a big deal. If Perry HAD instigated the matter, say, painting a rock with that word on it, or had conspired with others to do so, it would be a dfferent story.
    If the Presidential candidate Herman Cain has a skeleton in his past, such as calling a White person a honky, bring it up. Otherwise, let this matter die.

    October 3, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Caliope Windsor

    Private Property + Freedom of Speech = Painting anything they want with any words they want, no matter how offensive.

    AND, if we go to war in Mexico, at least our warriors could come home on weekends......but on the downside, the price of Tequila would likely go through the roof, killing off my Tuesday night Margaritas at Laredo's......

    October 3, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Argle Bargle

    He just keeps proving that he's just another Texas Village Idiot.

    And we all remember what the last one did to this nation.

    October 3, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. billy

    The more that I learn about this guy the more determined I am to vote for Romney. He started out placing ony one foot in his mouth and now he is placing both feet there.

    October 3, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Justin

    Who actually expected racial sensitivity from a Republican governor from Texas?

    October 3, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Mike

    Rick Perry and his father - hunting. The least intelligent male presidential candidate and the man responsible for his upbringing - with guns in their hands. And you thought Dick Cheney firing a weapon was a scary picture.

    October 3, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. billybob

    There will be lots of things like this happening the closer Rick gets to the bone. And I do mean to the bone.. Woof!

    October 3, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. Rose

    Yes, there may have been a time when the N word was used casually and frequently, but that time passed long before the Perry family started leasing the place. One would think that Perry, with all of his money, would have enough intelligence or common sense to simply remove and replace the rock, instead of wondering if there was enough paint to cover it up. But I guess I'm asking too much – I hope he's the GOP nominee for president!

    October 3, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. truth2power

    Perry is a perfect example of the right-wing extremist cancer that has infected the GOP.

    October 3, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. billybob

    Rick is always getting himself in trouble. This is just the beginning. There are many more skeletons in his closet.

    October 3, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Steve

    I cant believe we are discussing a word written on a rock over 30 tears ago, my god is this how we will determine who governs our country. Drive through any inner city neighborhood and you will see grafitii using this word all over the place.

    October 3, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. Scott

    Actually, it breaks my heart this guy's flamng out so early. I was hoping he'd at least make it through the nomination.

    October 3, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. trumod

    The last time we sent troops into Mexico, Pancho Villa and friends kicked Gen. Pershing's butt. Not a good idea. Neither are any of the current Republican candidates.

    October 3, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. SuburbanBob

    The sign should have read "Rick Perry... For Sale... Cheap!."

    October 3, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  21. Martoon

    The "fair and balanced" media have jumped all over this, but does Rick Perry own this property??? The article reads like the sign is on a hunting lease. On my hunting lease, I am not allowed to make changes to the property - only the landwoner can do that. Is Perry being held responsible for the insensitivity of the landowner? No one seems clear exactly when (1) the offending sign was painted over, (2) when the word started to become visible again or (3) whether it was taken care of later. Unless we get more hard facts from the media, I'd say this is not as important as a President who violates the Constitution on a regular basis or who falsifies copies of his birth certificate...

    October 3, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. PappyHappy

    Perry might be wise to just back to Texas, and bow out before he embarrasses himself further.

    October 3, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. Ron Paul 2012!

    Just because you call yourself a Republican does not mean that you hold Conservative values.

    The former Democrat, Perry, is 100% Liberal.

    October 3, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. Jason

    @ Nash. What do you mean pay for a mini war? There is already one going on. We, the Texas taxpayers, are watching these guys come in to our country, and murder innocent people. Do we not get a say so?

    October 3, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. billybob

    Yeah but the rock was on HIS property and he did not remove it. Didn't even try.

    October 3, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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