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. Cedar Rapids

    "First states people like to cling to their guns and religion,"

    which is certainly true. do you disagree with the statement?

    "then uses the word "lazy" when talking about the country"

    which he used in the context of not searching out foreign businesses but expecting them to come to the US. Again, do you disagree with that statement?

    "Pig in a poke – "Texas Gov. Rick Perry backed up his "pathetic" criticism of "

    Excuse me Ms Stewart but doesn'y this belong on the Op Ed page ? I was brought up to believe News stories are supposed to be third party neutral."

    She wasnt saying that his criticism was pathetic, she was saying how Perry called Obama pathetic. It was his 'pathetic' criticism, in the same way it was his 'privilege' crticism.

    November 17, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  2. FLIndependent

    "One thing for sure, that empty suit in the middle will be gone in 2012. Who will replace him is anyone's guess right now."

    Don't count your chickens before their hatched. None of these clowns will defeat President Obama. What the electorate needs to make sure happens is that the Dems retake the House and keep the Senate so President Obama can do what he was elected to and move this country forward without all of the obstruction.

    November 17, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. Tree


    One thing for sure, that empty suit in the middle will be gone in 2012. Who will replace him is anyone's guess right now.

    November 17, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
    You need to open yours eyes Dan. The President will win in 2012. An your point did not vot for him in 2008.
    and NANCY you sound foolish.......

    Gov. Perry is absolutely right saying Obama does not have any clue how average working Americans feel. Your messiah never worked for a pay check. He was a community organizer and recipient of welfare check. He is a Harvard boy and never paid a penny for his education. I understand that you and the msm know that Perry is the biggest threat to your messiah. Sadly enough FNC has joined the rest of the leftists in ridiculing Perry. But Perry is a fighter and will win the nomination.

    November 17, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. FLIndependent

    "First states people like to cling to their guns and religion, then he says cops acted "stupidly" before knowing ANY of the facts, then runs around the world apologizing, then uses the word "lazy" when talking about the country. Is it any wonder why his popularity is plummeting like a rock? Obama is the worse president this country has ever had."

    Maybe you should come out from living in your bubble and realize that these statements (even though you didn't quote him properly) are true. I really think you Repubs just can't handle hearing the truth!

    November 17, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    How can a Community Organizer be "disconnected" from real Amerikkkuns?!

    November 17, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Jean, Des Moines, Iowa.

    If any of the republican candidates and their followers can read, read "A Singular Woman" by Janny Scott about the life of the President's mother, relatives, etc. Privileged??? What a joke! Are the people who vote republican really that stupid to believe such crap!!!

    November 17, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. mesamick

    Single mom raising a mixed race child and having to rely on government aide to survive...Yeah, right Ricky Bobby, is that what passes for "privileged" in West Texas?

    November 17, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Phil in KC

    Privileged? He was of mixed race when that was not nearly so socially acceptable as it is now. Ditto for the fact that his parents were divorced and he pretty much grew up without a father. He spent a good deal of time living with his grandparents or in a 3rd World country. He took out student loans to go to college, studied hard and, essentially, found his own way in the world. Yeah, he's real privileged.

    November 17, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Republican who supports President Obama

    First he is a community organizer (why it's looked down upon is beyond me) now he is 'privileged'. Make up your mind and stick to one falsehood please.

    Fact – this President can relate to most in this country and around the world better than the GOP candidates. Huntsman may come close but is no comparison.

    Sorry GOP – not a convincing argument. Go back to the drawing board.

    November 17, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Arun

    These 2 (Perry and Mitt) need to go away. Hey Mitt, you are just another W., daddy getting into college with his connections. So please, before you call someone privlaged, take a look in the mirror. You are the poster child for privlage.

    November 17, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    nancy, please explain how someone can be "a Harvard boy" and " recipient of welfare check"?: Perry's "education" was paid for by taxpayers through a ROTC scholarship ( never served in combat), and the vast majority of his adult life has been spent in politics where he was on the public payroll. He will retire and have his healthcare paid for by taxpayers for the rest of his life, along with all the sordid kickbacks he's received while in the various offices he's held. Perry won't win the nomination because he has a criminal lack of basic knowledge, and any attempt by him to take on Obama will destroy what's left of his image. Perry may be a fighter, but Obama will be whipping an unarmed opponant in a battle of wits with Perry.

    November 17, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. quinLee


    One thing for sure, that empty suit in the middle will be gone in 2012. Who will replace him is anyone's guess right now.

    My guess is: A– it will be the black guy in the middle. B–It's going to be a long next 4.5 years for you buddy. Don't let all the hate and ignorance eat at you too much, now. See ya.

    November 17, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. joe

    Sorry to disappoint you but the guy in the middle has more intellectual that those two bozo combined.

    November 17, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. Tim Kenslea

    Can we get CNN to practice some actual journalism here?

    Perry was NOT "explaining his ad attack that decries President Obama's description of America as being 'a little bit lazy over the last couple of decades'" - because President Obama DIDN'T describe Americans that way.

    Obama said that the US's business and political leadership had gotten a little lazy about attracting new business and markets for our exports. The remark was in no way, shape, or form a criticism of American workers.

    Anyone who listened to what the President actually said, and made it all the way to the end of the sentence, could figure this out.

    Apparently that's a group that excludes Rick Perry, Fox News's Charles Krauthammer, and a bunch of other knee-jerk Obama haters.

    CNN, maybe you should write "his ad attack that MISCONSTRUES President Obama's description of America as being 'a little bit lazy over the last couple of decades.'"

    THAT would be honest reporting.

    November 17, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  15. Woman In California

    @ The Other Michael in Houston

    Thank you for telling these jerks the TRUTH. They better get used to life in America under President Obama because he is NOT going ANYWHERE for the next five years.

    November 17, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. Woman In California

    Well, to people (you fill in the blank here) who think like Perry and Romney – ANYTIME a black person gets a good education, marries the woman he loves BEFORE knocking her up, supports his children, has no criminal record and doesn't abuse his wife – he is "privileged". If that's the case, I pray that BOTH of my son's become "privileged".

    November 17, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Robert Brewer

    BS. Perry knows nothing about Barack Obama's life. Stupid comment by someone who hardly reads a book. Please go home to Texas Mr. Perry. Your comments are insulting to anyone who reads and researches a candidate's background. Run for national office when you are sufficiently prepared for the job.


    November 17, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. bawana

    tweedle dee and tweedle dumb,,,,i will let yall pick who's who,,,,,mitt or rick

    November 17, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. normajean @ verizon ,com

    WELL, This time you really did it !! Cowboy boots in the mouth that never shuts up!!!! " Grew up priviledged?????Never had to work for anything??? Is there a person anywhere { other than you} that doesn't know his background???? He was anything but priviledged.. He worked hard for eveything he had.. LEARN TO READ AND THEN TO KEEP YOUR BIG MOUTH SHUT!!!!! ....YOU REALLY BLEW IT THIS TIME!!!!!!!!!!

    November 17, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. go get it

    To Mars5- its morons like you who can't read for themselves but hear foolishness like what Ricky boy says then react.

    November 17, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. v_mag

    NPR reported yesterday that communism has an 11% approval rating in the U.S. That makes communism more popular than most of the GOBP candidates and all of Congress. What would the candidates make of that?

    Perry: "I'm going to dismantle the Department of Whatchacallit and create a Department of Communism!"
    Cain: "Uh, comu, comu, comu, stan, stan".
    Romney: "I have nothing against communists. Flip flop, flip flop."
    Santorum: "I'm no fan of communists, but they have a point."
    Bachmann: "Obama used to live in a commune."
    Paul: "Get the government off the backs of the communists!"
    Huntsman: "I love commies. I used to live in communist China."

    November 17, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. jk from MN

    How on EARTH can you call a mixed race boy with a single mother privileged?????? Do you EVER listen to the things you say? What a nut-job!

    November 17, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. Clwyd

    Obama can relate! It is Perry who can't remember!

    November 17, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. unsub

    perry is a loser!

    November 17, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  25. AmericanSam

    Wow. Republicans are so quick with the lazy charge ALL THE TIME. "These Occupy protesters are lazy! How dare they want rich people to pay their fair share!' "People on welfare are lazy!" "You're lazy!" However, as soon as the President agrees that Americans have been lazy, they change their minds! "Americans aren't lazy! How dare he?!"

    November 17, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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