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. Victor

    How about...rather than spreading the lunatic U.S. war on drugs to Mexico, we either stop the craziness entirely by legalizing the drugs. That way there would be no need for illegal cartels. The Mexicans are not taking the drugs...the gluttonous Americans are.

    October 3, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. Steve

    Many years ago, "Lawn Jockeys" were also found in numbers across the cities. Over time, they were removed. Does that make everyone who grew up on property that had one racist? Get a life! And for any candidate black or white to be slinging the race card is wrong. It shows how shallow the candidate really is. When I was a baby, my "nanny" was negro, so am I a slave owner? My family also employeed black housekeepers as many people did at the time.. , so is that being racist or is it equal opportunity hiring practice? Godfather's Pizza, isn't that a racial slur against Sicilians? How insensitive!

    October 3, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. George Parigian Jr.

    Personally I can't stand Perry, and I usually vote Republican. However why do you think Obama is smarter than Perry? I think even Perry knows there are 50 states in the US, unlike Obama who claimed he had campaigned in 57 states!

    October 3, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Joel

    Good call KGB. It seems that the important details are left out. So to not be offensive to anyone lete rename 'Hooters' to 'The Brown Owl'; 'CHI-Chi's' to ' Tex-Mex Spicey'; 'Cleveland Indians' to 'The Cleveland Native Team'; 'Washington Redskins' to 'Washington Native Roamers'; 'St Louis Braves' to 'St Louis Fighters'; etc...

    Maybe after all is settled we may realize that freedom of speech is only free to the press and critics, but everone else pays a price for it.

    October 3, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. peace2day

    Really? Enough with the good ole boy Republican already!!!!! Ego is a sad thing, when it takes the people that look to leaders. Rick is not. Shame on him and his family for such a disturbing passage that had to be live again in the heart and souls of our brothers and sisters of color. Shame Rick!!! OH.... troops to Mexico? Send your family, not mine.

    October 3, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Richard

    now from what i have read the Perry's did not own the property so how could they make changes or cover up the name if the actual owner decided h they wanted to keep the name?

    October 3, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. DaveinCincy

    Let's forget about the jobs discussion because that's been a complete FAILURE for the past 3 years and focus on a spray painted rock. I'm not a Perry supporter, but this is hardly a topic. The democrat agenda is a complete failure!! JOBS JOBS JOBS!! As for Mexican drug trade, forget about sending military..lock the border down first. I believe it was a liberal who posted this above, and I completely agree!! See..we can agree occassionally.

    October 3, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. Tha Chikin

    Call me crazy but I think helping the Mexican government fight the Cartels is a pretty good idea! It will keep Americans that live in border towns safe and it will make Mexico a little more tolerable to live (i.e. less illegal immigration). It's an out of control mess down there... not to say we should make it our problem but, it is our problem because the violence is spilling over into places like Laredo, TX. How many kidnappings does it take for our government to do something? Yup... it's AMERICANS TO THE RESCUE YET AGAIN!! Now, I don't think we should send a whole bunch of troops... just a few well trained teams to go down there and bust some heads.

    October 3, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. thunderbolt

    You liberals crack me up. Who hasn't seen a rock painted on the side of the road with graffiti? Honestly, and it was painted over years ago. You see this stuff everywhere. You act like Perry was caught spray painting it himself on the rock. Is this the best you got? Its going to be a long year, having to listen to this kind of foolishness out of the democrats. But hey, keep it up, I like the poll numbers.............

    October 3, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. Lardeau

    That particular word was very common in my time. But certainly not now. If it was printed out anywhere that I had jurisdiction I would have it removed.

    October 3, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. Satty

    @Larry L
    I won't dispute your account of the use of the word in the Texas oil fields. I've never been there, no where near. But your assumption that the majority of the Republican voting base would just shrug their shoulders at the use of the N word is pushing a very offensive blanket stereotype. I won't have it in my home, I am offended to hear others use it, I don't know personally any other Repubs that would be okay with that and I tell people I hear saying it to shut their damn mouths. Maybe that kind of thing is okay where you're from or where you've been...

    October 3, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. thunderbolt

    Instead of touting Obama's policies and their results, we have to read stories about a rock someone painted years ago with grafitti, that has been painted over still. I guess if thats all you have to fight with, you go with it, but it sure makes you look silly..........

    October 3, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Sharky

    Bad economy? No problem, start a few wars and debase the currency. That seems to be the government's answer to everything.

    October 3, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. realitybites

    Oops! Damaged goods. Looks like Herman dropped the Anchovie pizza. Didn't smell to good. The customer will be mad and not tip the driver (Perry). This fourwheeler can't get any traction even in backed hard rocky Texas soil. Maybe it should go back in the barn and set awhile.

    October 3, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. W.G.

    Why did the perry family paint over the rock ? I thought being a stingy uncaring RACIST was a PLUS
    in the republican party .

    October 3, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. IronRider

    Ron Paul for president.

    October 3, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. HIH

    where is the picture of the rock?

    October 3, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. JVC

    I have to comment on this one as it amazing to see and read things like the following comment 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,

    Its funny how the N-Word is only bad when it isn't a black person saying it! You can hear the word or some form of it in every rap song you listen too and you can hear it in public when young black males greet each other! I work at a community College and hear the term daily blasting from someones cell phone or then greeting each other......

    This article is an example of it, of course we wouldn't be reading about it if it was Obama saying it or it involved him in some way! !

    October 3, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. Iskrenie

    Rick Perry: Let's put the WHITE back in WHITE HOUSE

    October 3, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. realitybites

    They (republicans) are already out there trying to find another "slam dunk" since this shot turned into another airball. "Hey Christie, can you please come out of the bleachers and suit up. No? But why? We're drowning in dumba$$ out here. Oh you're afraid you'll up looking like one too? Crap! Who the heck recruited this bunch of loosers anyway?"

    October 3, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. Larry

    Ya know what? I'll worry about the "N-word" being on a rock in the woods IF Cain and the rest of the N-word Nazis will go after EVERY rap star who uses it on a recording. Part of the reason non-blacks are pushing back so hard about racial issues is that so many blacks REFUSE to acknowledge that they can be every bit as racist as the Klan. If he hadn't been elected President, Obama wouldn't really qualify to be truly black according to many outspoken blacks, simply because he's only half-black. Until we are willing to judge each other as PEOPLE, and not by the color of the skin, we'll never get past this nonsense. Using this as a campaign issue merely denigrates Cain's platform.

    October 3, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. Woman In California

    I'm far more offended when black people use the term. I would much rather attack MY people than attack Perry on this. His issues ALONE will do him in – just wait and see.

    October 3, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. BillCunnane

    What needs to b done as soon as possable is to tell the mexican government we are taking back all those jobs American companies are doing in mexico. Perry is pro illegal immigration, pro dream act and far too soft on border security. He flip flops too much and is clearly not a leader for this country. We need troops not in mexico but on the border and they need to be instructed to shoot anyone who is crossing the border at any place other than at established border crossing spots. That includes illegals as well as suspected drug smugglers. We also need to have a president who is going to end back door amnesty and who will push the Federal agencies to prosecute any and ALL illegals found within our borders. American deserve a better representative and leader than who we have not and Perry is not the replacement for the traitor in the whitehouse.

    October 3, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Robert

    Well, there's your classic definition of Republican...let's reduce spending and find another war to get involved in at the same time. Very good governor!

    October 3, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. peace2day

    Oh, how Ann Richards and Lady Bird Johnson are missed!! The Women of TEXAS are so much more remarkable than the men of TX could ever hope to be. Rick...tuck the TX boy back in you...for only there is where the possible interest could exists.

    October 3, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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