Perry on Obama: 'It's fun to poke at him'
October 25th, 2011
08:44 AM ET
11 years ago

Perry on Obama: 'It's fun to poke at him'

(CNN) - Comments over the validity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate made by Texas Gov. Rick Perry could overshadow the Republican presidential candidate's roll out of his "Cut, Balance, and Grow" economic plan.

Tuesday morning the Texas governor unveils his proposal–which includes a 20% new flat tax rate–at a speech in South Carolina, the first southern state to vote in the race for the GOP nomination. But when Perry goes before cameras later in the day at a scheduled news conference, reporters will most likely pepper the Texas governor over comments he made in an interview that appeared over the weekend in the on-line edition of Parade Magazine. Perry also said it's "fun to poke" at Obama over the birth certificate issue in an interview with CNBC.

In the Parade Magazine interview, Perry said he believes the president was born in the United States, but was less confident that the long form birth certificate that the state of Hawaii released earlier this year after a request by the president was real. Obama was born in Hawaii.

"I don't know. I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night," Perry said. "He doesn't think it's real."

Trump, the businessman, real estate mogul and reality TV star, championed the "birther" movement earlier this year, when he flirted with a bid for the GOP nomination.

Monday, Karl Rove criticized Perry, saying the Republican presidential candidate may harm his campaign by stoking the "birther" controversy.

"You associate yourself with a nutty view like that, and you damage yourself," said Rove, a top political adviser to former President George W. Bush.

Rove, who doesn't have a close relationship with Perry, made his comments in an interview on Fox News.

Tuesday morning, hours before Perry was set to unveil his economic plan, the controversy was injected with new life, thanks to an interview Perry gave to CNBC top political reporter John Harwood.

"Look I haven't seen his, I haven't seen his grades. My grades ended up on the front page of the newspaper, so let's you know, if we're going to show stuff, let's show stuff, but look that's all a distraction, I mean I get it. I'm really not worried about the president's birth certificate. It's fun to poke at him a little bit and say 'Hey, how about let's see your grades and your birth certificate," said Perry, in his interview with Harwood.

As for Trump, his spokesman late Monday night released a statement from the real estate mogul saying "despite releasing what is alleged to be his birth certificate, serious questions remain…is it authentic? I don't know."

- CNN's Rebecca Stewart and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Birthers • President Obama • Rick Perry
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Name Jeremy@Dallas

    Oh my God. I am fed up with this guy. Obama is not your type,please. Work your way past Romney and Cain before asking for the President's grades.
    BTW,never come back to Texas after your loss. We need change of guard at Austin or we seccede.

    October 25, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. MCJNY

    Perry is showing clear and present signs of not being electable. And he has been showing this for some time. At this point, I am imposing the palin protocols on him. The palin protocols call me for not to click on news articles about her, not to take the outrage bait that is put out every time she opens her mouth. These 2 are people who have nothing to offer the discourse except dumb things that come out of their mouth. It's shock jock tv on a presidential scale. I can't think of anything more inappropriate in our country's current state.

    October 25, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  3. cro-mag

    I'll be glad when this field thins out a little, but still during the primary it is amusing what one has to keep bringing up to attract the attention (or votes) of the wackos in the extreme fringe of they're party. Lets get on to the general election so we can get back to the center where the relevant issues are.

    October 25, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  4. Eve

    Seriously, its 'fun to poke' at him? What is Perry?? A 5 -year old little mean girl? Does he plan to deal with Putin, et al in this manner too... immaturity rather than thoughtful, dignified, and intelligent dialog? We really need a better class of potential leaders!

    October 25, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  5. HenryB

    And there we have it. Oh, it is just fun. Just like Herman Cain and his electrified fence. It was just a joke. And our electorate is so DUMB and uninformed that this birther stuff does not matter any longer. They come to expect it but will vote for these clowns anyway. But I realize that this is the kind of talk you have to do in order to get the votes of these crazy Republicans.

    October 25, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  6. Victoria avgam54

    Well for someone who has no better plan of their own it's not fun to poke its just plain EASIER. Like the kid in class who did not do his homework... The sad thing is, people are listening to these useless untruths. President Obama is the epitome of American exceptionalism and is more of an American and christian then Perry if you look at his care and compassion for people, civil rights and human lives.
    Obama 2012

    October 25, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  7. Dave

    Perry has dug himself a hole and he keeps digging. I will vote for another GOP candidate for sure.

    October 25, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  8. Lili

    Perry's only saying what alot of people are thinking. The truth is that there is credible evidence that the birth certificate may not be real AND we have not seen Obama's school grades. If yall think this issue is going away, think again, it is only going to get bigger. Perry stated himself that it is a distraction and he is focusing on the more important things at this time but these issues will arise again. I like how Perry don't let the MSM tell him what to do, yall tried to tell him to denounce the pastor who made the comments about Mormoms and he did not! Now the elite and Media are trying to tell him not to even comment on this issue either and he is doing things his way, whether you like it or not! The more the elite and Media try to break Perry because of bad debate performance or whatever, the more he keeps coming pushing inspite of what Washington and the Media thinks is right! If he is trying to paint himself as an outsider who don't play by the rules set by Washington, then he is doing a good job so far! And it is slowly resonating.

    October 25, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  9. Nothing new here

    And this is coming from a man that favors illegals, and think Donald Trump really knows what is going on?? This has pretty much confirmed my decision – I will NOT be voting for this Perry guy. The Republican party needs to be for real, put a merciful end to this "birther" nonsense, and start getting behind Ron Paul. Or at least a candidate that is worthy of the voters consideration.

    October 25, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. Me

    Millions of people are out of work, losing their homes, protesting Wall St., and this goober thinks it's fun to harass the President over unimportant things just to stir the pot? People were right - W. is the smarter of the two TX. Govs.

    October 25, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. once upon a horse

    Perry came into the race all "YEE-HAW!" Texas blazing straight to the top. NOW look at him pathetic. But many of us here in Texas knew what to expect once our "guvner" got more national exposure he was gonna sink. Just look at who he appeals to...the right wing wackies that even Karl Rove doesn't like.

    October 25, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  12. Eddie

    People, do you even realize you already pay twenty percent, or right at it, in income taxes. Its been that for years. Its a shame you don't even know how your paychecks are figured. The rule of thumb for figuring your take home has always been to divide the gross by 5 (20%...HELLO). Stop acting like this is a far fetched plan.

    October 25, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  13. TJfore

    Perry no way i can vote for u, bec you have no idea, i will vote for Pre Obama...

    October 25, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  14. Larry L

    Perry is still trying to work the "Birther" angle? This sort of politics is what makes serious voters shy away from the Republican Party. I can believe Rick would like to "poke" Obama. I still remember his skill with the corny dog at the Iowa Fair.

    If Republican candidates want to gain points with thinking voters, especially those on the fence, they could answer the questions they've avoided throughout the primary. What is your real plan for Social Security? What would do for Medicare? What would you do with 11 million illegal immagrants? Since the Bush Administration was in charge when the economy tanked, why should I vote in the very same party that spent money like drunken sailors on tax breaks for the rich, ignored the crimes in the banking industry, and caused the recession? How are you really different than those other Republicans who caused this mess? Tell the truth and let voters decide.

    October 25, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  15. garry robitaille

    I think the GOP could win if we just had a leader.

    October 25, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  16. Publius Novus

    This story may seem silly, but it's really apochyphal. Isn't this what Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Haley Barbour have been doing since Obama won the election? Poking at him? When do you think the "loyal opposition" will stop "poling" and settle down to do their job?

    October 25, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. garry robitaille

    it's like going to the circus. everytime a door opens another clown steps out.

    October 25, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  18. nytw

    I had an gross income of about $135,000 last year. The only deductions I had are the ones that Perry plans on keeping in his plan. My magical tax rate was 18%. I thought Republicans wanted to cut taxes. This is going to be a tax increase for just about everyone in the country. Obama would probably support a tax plan similar to this.

    October 25, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  19. gt

    give me a break its a joke.... lighten up people

    October 25, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  20. catwill

    Donald Trump said it and Perry bought it and was foolish enough to say it which shows that he is not ready for prime time in the WH.

    October 25, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  21. Frank

    Hey, I did see Perry's grades. He got a B+ (way far his highest) at Texas A&M in a course called Goat and Angora Sheep Production. Not kidding.

    October 25, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  22. Tony

    It is fun to poke fun at the entire Republican presidential field. Democrats can play this game too.

    October 25, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. Eddie

    Just a follow up to my previous post. If you earned between $8,500 and $34,500 a year, your rate is 15%. Between $34,500 and $83,600 your rate is 25%, between $83,600 and $$174,400 your rate is 28%, between $174,400 and $379,150 your rate is 33%. Over that your rate is 35%. AND YOU ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT A FLAT 20%?????????????????????????? Maybe you shouldn't vote at all in the next election. It might have a positive effect on our tax system!!!

    October 25, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. Bill

    The Perry campaign is doomed. It's over – go back to Texas and practice your bigotry there.

    October 25, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. CoJo

    So Trump and now Perry have not dropped this birth certificate issue. And Republicans want this to represent them? I certainly wouldn't want to be within 10 ft of them, never mind vote for them. Trump dropped because he didn't want to be grilled like the canidates and Perry consisders himself a christain with these comments? Is this what make a christian?

    October 25, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
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