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. Sniffit

    "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."

    Yeah, but he's brown. People like Cowboy Fonzie here don't cotton to that.

    October 25, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. SaintM

    If Rick Perry is the nominee for the Republican ticket, then I say that President Obama should post his ivy league, honors graduate grades–so that we can poke fun at Perry for his grades in comparison, and of course, the the chance to see Rick Perry suffer one of the greatest public humiliations of his life.

    October 25, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. RdclCntrst

    "It's fun to poke at him a little bit". Spoken like a true schoolyard bully.

    Haven't we learned our lesson, America? Don't mess with Texas–just leave them alone!

    October 25, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. SecedingfromTexas

    Exactly. Finally, someone 'gets it'.

    October 25, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. tooquiet4me

    Well, Rick, it's hysterical.

    Like my calling you a 'boob.'

    October 25, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. A. C.

    Wow that pretty much sums it up.

    October 25, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Jock

    He's such a foolish man. He shouldn't be governor of Texas let alone president.

    October 25, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. Lisa

    How could someone this stupid be elected to ANY office? I feel insulted every time the Republicans offer up another dope, and claim he/she is Presidential material.

    October 25, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Gov. Perry's campaign has turned into slow motion train wreck.

    October 25, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  10. The Elephant In The Room

    For the next 30 years, there will be an ever diminishing subset of "good ole boys" that surrepticiously harbor hatred, disdain, disrepect, and contempt for any President that is not a WHITE MALE CHRISTIAN. Perry & Bachmann befor him & Trump before her, and Palin before him, all sought to curry the favor of these people. Like Cain, they hide behind "jokes" to float trial ballons to see how toxic they can be with their comments and still get away with it. This is NOT what a LEADER does.

    I`m friends with enough people of all ages, races, and genders to see that this iis a long term losing strategy. From my conversations with white women, its clear that most of them recognize the tactics being used to attempt to marginalize the President; they are variants on the same tactic applied against themselves in their careers. They recoil from the underhanded approaches of the Perry`s of the world and they don`t trust the slickness of Romney.

    Younger, educated white men see the tactics also. The obstructionism has been clear and any of us that has recieved or given work performance reviews knows the game McConnell has tried to play . . . . try to make the President ineffective and then say he`s not up to the job. Well, we`re not falling for it.

    Fun & game time is over GOP politicians. I am convinced that, for the good of America`s future, we can not reward you with leadership roles in 2012 or 2014. Perhaps by 2016, you`ll have a qualified "A" team with some smart, balanced solutions.

    October 25, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  11. Steveo


    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!
    Eve, I agree with you! The lack of respect on both sides is ridiculous! It could be worse though, in Taiwan, the politicians throw punches! The same folks who don't mind "poking" seem to not like it so much when they get "poked". I fully expect my children to behave better than that! I don't mind attacks on policy but, It is the ultimate in immaturity to attack personally and that goes for BOTH sides!

    October 25, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  12. Patty60

    I would vote for another routing to get to President. Most other countries have a two month period of campaigning,election and into office. Done deal, not this 2-3 year BS of wasting everyone's time.

    October 25, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  13. Yikes

    Regular people are suffering and Perry is having fun "poking" at the President. This is a snapshot of the republican party, which I used to belong to until it became infected with hatred.

    October 25, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Tillie in Texas

    In a way, I feel kinda sorry for the old fashioned fiscally conservative, socially liberal republicans of the old days. I know they're a dying breed but, they have no options anymore. Between the crazzzy religious folk & the greedy corporate owned Congress, the Republican Party is dying a slow death. Then again, after 8 years of Bush/Cheney, I guess I'm not really feeling that bad about it. Obama will win in 2012 and the Romney for Romney guy, the Perry Idiocy Group, the Koch owned subsidiary named Herm Cain and the Bailed On Bachman crowd will find another way to scam Americans. I mean, FoxSpews and FOXLite (CNN) will still be on the air, so... see y'all in 2016!

    October 25, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  15. carolyn

    One would think that by now African Americans have earned the right not to be ridiculed or questioned about our right to exists in the country where we were enslaved, died by the millions. President Obama was born to a beautiful African man and a beautiful caucasion woman from Kansas. Rather than accept The President of the United States as an American whose mother was a antural born American citizen); Perry's seemingly joking non answer is just as insulting to us as the out right racist challenge by the likes of Orly Taites, Trump, Palin and many others; at least we know where we stand among these self styled christians.

    October 25, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  16. Dee

    For someone who wants to be President to stoop to this level is shameful.

    Why do these candidates have to get Donald Trump's approval? He must be their role model you should stand on your own morals and principals.

    October 25, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. JP

    Just keep giving the GOP enough rope. The rest will take care of itself!

    October 25, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  18. underdog

    Why don't the Republican's just say they are incapable of having an actual debate on the issues, so they have to tease and name call the President and each other.

    October 25, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. brice

    wow. that is just plain sad. that somebody of this intellectual level could not only have gotten to the ranks of governorship in TX but is also one of the more popluar candidates for the 1 of the 2 largest parties for president. the fact that intelligent educated rational serious fairminded and reasonable people like Huntsman are completely ignored by their party while someone of this caliber gets real attention. there is little wonder that our country faces the issues it does when THIS fool is who a great many of us are thinking "THAT guy is qualified to be president of the most powerful nation in the world." truly embarrasing. im not a huge obama fan but the repubs better get their act together if they want to have a chance come next november.

    October 25, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. John

    Perry only in Texas could you ever get elected. You get your kicks out of poking fun at the president of the United States regarding an issue which resonates and is a central issue with the far right wing extremists of your party. An issue which was proven to be not true. You need to grow up.

    October 25, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. Retrostar1000

    Please keep talking, Perry. PLEASE. Every time you open your mouth is a win for Obama. Same for you other goofy GOP candidates- keep talking, I love it! Obama 4 more years 🙂 See you at the polls.

    October 25, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. FIELD1st SGT

    Listen to the rambling of the no brains Obamanites on the birther statement. Well I have news for you there are many of us out here who believe the idiot in the White House is not American. He also with intentions of doing America harm. He stands with folded hands to our National Antheum is a dead giveaway of his unpatriot alliance to the Islam states. We will not votwe to put this fake back into office. And as for sucedeing you couldn't blame us if you ignorants so abide to elect this imbecile back again. What the hades do we need him for. By that time we will be part of Mexico along with New Mexico and Arizona. no one wants California the home of multiple Obamanites and OJ.

    October 25, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  23. Anne

    Oh those crazy Republicans.., always joking around. What can you do with those them??? You know, guys will be guys. God help the country

    October 25, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  24. DAK

    In this current cycle, all the GOP contenders except Dr Paul, are nutty as a fruit cake. Between the birther thing, the 999 plan (or more often no plan at all other than the same old tired mantra of cut cut cut) the name-calling and the childish antics during the debates, this all proves NONE of them are serious and have nothing to offer but Obama-bashing. Telling me how bad the other guy is is just a smoke-screen to hide the fact none of them have a better way of doing things and no ideas of their own. Then they expect me to vote for them on the promise they will do "something different" without saying what that difference actually is. No thanks, GOP.

    October 25, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. Ezo

    He's outta here! Next!

    October 25, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
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