Perry says 'privileged' Obama can't relate
November 17th, 2011
12:24 PM ET
9 years ago

Perry says 'privileged' Obama can't relate

(CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry backed up his "pathetic" criticism of President Obama late Thursday, saying the incumbent's thinking is based on his background.

"He grew up in a privileged way," Perry said while explaining his ad attack that decries President Obama's description of America as being "a little bit lazy over the last couple of decades."

Obama made the comments Saturday in Hawaii during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit as he explained the nation can do a better job of selling goods outside of the U.S.

"You know, he never had to really work for anything and he never had to go through what Americans are going-you know, there's 14-plus million Americans sitting out there, some of them watching this program tonight that don't have a job," Perry said in an interview on Fox News.

"The president has never felt that angst that they have in their heart."

President Obama's memoir, "Dreams from my Father," published in 1995, documents a less than privileged childhood marked by the divorce of his parents when the president was two years old, his father's absence, and a move to Jakarta after his mother remarried. At 10 years old, Obama returned to Hawaii to live with his grandparents. His mother followed later. He was admitted to a  college preparatory school in the fifth grade on scholarship.

But for Perry, Obama's background falls short.

"We need a president who's been through the ups and downs of life, who understands what it's like to have to deal with the issues of our economy we have today in America, and that's what this election is gonna be about," he continued. "Who has a plan to get America working again."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also attacked the president's comments, saying he doesn't think Obama understands America at a campaign event in South Carolina.

"He said Americans are lazy," Romney said. "I don't think that describes America."

And Thursday, the Democratic National Committee hit back at both GOP rivals with a Web ad questioning their record on creating jobs.

"President Obama said we need to do more to bring jobs to America," an ad banner says before a photo of Romney slides across the screen. Matched with the photo is text that states "Mitt Romney's Massachusetts: 47th in job creation."

Perry's photo is paired with: "Rick Perry's Texas. #1 in minimum wage jobs."

Calling Rick Perry's description of Obama's "lazy" remarks "another gaffe" and Romney's "another manipulation" the Web spot blasts both GOP candidates for the 2012 presidential nomination for making "another attack we just can't believe."

Programming note: GOP presidential candidates next face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, November 22, in the CNN Republican National Security Debate in Washington, D.C.. Submit your questions for the debate here.

Also see:

Santorum: Republicans 'ignore some realities' on economy

Cain: How do you say that in 'Cuban?'

Gingrich faces more questions about Freddie Mac

soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. jmyer

    What about the privileged life that Perry has now and for the last several years – with his million dollar housing and expenses paid by the State of Texas, free to him and his family, many trips around the world with family and friends, paid for by his cronies, receiving millions from his "friends", political contacts, traveling in privately owned planes and the list goes on. He is certainly not living like an ordinary man in these hard times. He has been on the Government payroll his whole life.

    November 17, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Good God. So much for the whole "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" Grand Old Party mantra being floated around non stop. Apparently we now find ourselves making our way into a "my bootstraps were tougher than your bootstraps" conversation.

    How utterly childish and immature this man Rick Perry has become ... or has always been? Never really cared about him one way or another to pay attention to him politically.

    Probably just as well I didn't.

    November 17, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. Nash

    Wow. Unless Perry is using a racist code to describe Obama, I think Obama is more like me than Perry, Romney and all GOP candidates. Perry may have humble beginnings but they were a hundred times better than Obama's. This a low level attack for the uninformed voters who believe in everything they hear.

    November 17, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Jake asked:

    Did Rick Perry go to college?
    He attended Texas A&M University. Twice, I am told. He eventually earned his BS in Animal Science at the age of 27 or so.

    November 17, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. Duke One

    @jmyer Gov. Perry is only a millionaire. He is not a multi millionaire like the other candidates including Obama.

    November 17, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Dan-I am not sure if that the republicans will be able to ride that 10% approval to victory in 2012. But to call the president an empty suit, when has stopped the Bush 8 million jobs lost and has been in charge of almost 3 million jobs created. The market has moved from under 8000 to 12,000 in three years, Obama's success with the war on terror has seen the end of al Qaida leaders including bin Laden, and in Libya, the end of Gaddhafi. Our troops will be home from Iraq in December. The real empty suits are the clowns the GOP has running for president and the one who almost destroyed America, Bush.

    November 17, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Perry has lost his MIND!!! he must be on something, like the other day when did his interview on tv.(SMILE)

    November 17, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  8. Fred Phred

    With the dumb things he says, Is Rick Perry the male version of Sarah Palin? Every time he speaks, he just sticks his foot in his mouth. Rick, just smile and wave to people from now on.

    November 17, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. Dan Druff

    Growing up black isn't the easiest road in America. And some take issue with people who are mixed, as if that isn't good enough. And at times as a child, President Obama's mother was on food stamps. Then he had to decide if he wanted to live with his mother overseas or stay in the US with his Grandparents. You know, I keep waiting for the part in this unofficial mini-biography when the President had a privileged upbringing.

    November 17, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    somebody wrote:
    As opposed to the Democrats answrs, spend, spend, spend until we're bankrupt. 90%-90%-90% tax rates. Don't drill, buy foreign oil. Regulate, regulate and strangle all businesses until they are no more. Never Act fiscally responsible and realize government can't doing everything for everybody all the time.
    Actually, if you look at the statistics, it has been Republican Presidents who have had policies of large deficit spending, which ballooned the national debt. The statistics also say that it has been Democratic Presidents who have come behind them and reigned the annual deficit spending under control.

    Had Sen. McCain won in 2008, the annual deficits would still be at least $1.5 trillion, and Republicans would still be blaming the Democratic Party for it. In fact, most people think the annual deficits would be even higher because of the proposed tax cuts that we all know that Republicans wish to enact.

    November 17, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. ED FL

    Two spoiled rotten multi-millionairs talking about Obama having an easy life . At least he had the fortitude to stay with a party for the people that diod not start 2 unpaid wars kill 6000 ame3rican kids ans wound34.000, then try to take away their care and benefits. You 2 low life politicians have been sucking on the goverment trough all your life.

    November 17, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. WhereIsPalin

    Hey Perry.......wake up, man. You're done. And good luck in Texas. Maybe they have a better idea of who you are.

    November 17, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. SecedingfromTexas

    Dennis Freeman said "Words cannot describe Rick Perry........"
    I totally agree.

    November 17, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. Andi

    If Perry were smart, (which he isn't) he wold see that his poll ratings are lower than Congress' right now. Have a seat Slick Rick.

    November 17, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. joe

    this guy is so unlikable and uninspiring. how can anyone in their right mind vote for someone like this over president obama? wheather or not you think president obama has done too much or not enough he is still head and shoulders above this group of clowns.

    November 17, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. Goptfascists Nationalists Party - radical "regressive" bigoted intolerant fanaticism screwing the USA

    Parry – not a real person let alone a "real" candidate.

    November 17, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "Actually, if you look at the statistics, it has been Republican Presidents who have had policies of large deficit spending, which ballooned the national debt"

    And the open secret that the MSM refuses to touch with a ten foot pole for fear of retribution from the 1% is that there's a very simple and clear explanation for why they do it: to turn around and use it as justification for eviscerating the New Deal and Great Society programs and enact further policies designed to redistribute the nation's wealth upwards.

    November 17, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. Bill, NY

    Perry?!?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!! President Perry?!?!? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!! If this yuck yuck gets elected we are going to die one way or another. I will die laughing!!!

    November 17, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. Dr. Strangelove

    The Republicans need better candidates and a more reasoned approach. The ultra-conservative direction the GOP has taken is way to the right of Reagan or Dole. I didn't vote for them either but at least they seemed to put the country's interests before their party or the advancement of the privileged few.

    November 17, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Being privileged means being able to count up to 3 without help.....yep, he's privileged, alright, espcially when you consider the source of the comment. Perry has had the privilege of being on the public payroll for virtually all of his adult life, but no one of the GOP side is complaining about that, are they? Hypocrites, as usual.

    November 17, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. usualone

    Perry does not know what he has been talking about. The President has experienced the ups and downs of life, and was deprived of growing up with his father. His richness in life was that he lived overseas so that he could grasp how others than US citizens live. As far as Americans being lazy, there is some truth to that. More likely Americans have become scared to try new ventures. Thus business is being repeated as it always has been done - and that doesn't sell nowadays. Investing in new ventures should be the American way. Some will lose their monies but others will prosper. Perry wants us to go back to the Wild West days if not colonial times. He sounds desperate.

    November 17, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    When is Anita going to take Rick home, give him his teddy bear, fix him some hot chocolate (with Tequila) and tell Rick, "Those Americans are just not like us, let's count the $17 million in campaign donations, and plan on seceding from the United States?"

    November 17, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. vet in tx

    one makes all his money on 2 book sales

    The other makes money by switching parties.......

    November 17, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. John

    Re: Duke One
    Hawaii isn't in Asia. Indonesia is. He went to school in Indonesia Mr. Duke One. Also, there is a suggestion that when someone says (parenthetically) that anyone can get into Harvard if only they were able to take advantage of Affirmative Action is in need of a serious reality check. Affirmative Action can only give an extremely gifted applicant a bit of an extra edge (kind of like Mr. Bush getting into Yale because he is the child of an alumnus) (See what I did there, I put a snarky comment in parenthesis). To say his skin color had nothing to do with his getting into Harvard is naive. To say that was the deciding factor is braindead, and really reveals a lot about you as a person. If he is privileged because he worked hard, than you need to reexamine what sort of work ethic you want in a President. I would also question the definition of "out of touch" when we consider the source is someone who called for Texas to do a rain dance. It is fun though, to think of Perry making this statement. "Obama is privileged, out of touch, and...and...EPA!"

    November 17, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. kayla

    bill,ny i needed that laugh.

    November 17, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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