[Editor's Note:On Jan. 19, 2012, Rick Perry announced at a news conference in North Charleston, SC, that he was ending his campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. In his remarks, Perry stated that this "campaign has never been about the candidates, I ran for President because I love America... What’s broken in America is not our people, it’s our politics... We need bold conservative leadership that will take on the entrenched interests and give the American people their country back... I have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path forward for me... I am suspending my campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich... Newt is not perfect but who among us is?... Now the journey leads me back to Texas."]
Republican Presidential Candidate
Governor of Texas
Now Con: "In order for America to maintain its moral authority abroad, we must set a high moral standard at home. That starts with protecting our most innocent and vulnerable unborn children. 50 million--50 million have died because America has not guaranteed the right to life expressly stated in the Declaration of Independence. As Governor of Texas and throughout my career I have taken an unwavering stand in defense of life...
[O]ne of the most important responsibilities of any president is to appoint federal judges who uphold the Constitution of the United States instead of rewriting it. Activist judges who gave us Roe vs. Wade, and it is time for activist citizens now to pass a human life amendment...
Being pro-life is not a matter of campaign convenience. It is a core conviction... It is a liberal canard to say, 'I am personally pro-life, but government should stay out of that decision.' If that is your view, you are not pro-life. You are pro 'having your cake and eating it too.' We respect life. We respect life as a gift of God, and what God has protected we should work to protect."
Not Clearly Pro or Con: [Editor's Note: Prior to his Now Con position listed above, Perry made a Not Clearly Pro or Con statement on July 27, 2011 (shown below) that abortion laws should be made at the state level and not the federal level. Many people had interpreted that statement to mean that Perry did not support making abortion illegal at a national level.
However, Perry has since clarified his views and indicated support for a US constitutional amendment to ban abortion. He expressed his support for a pro-life amendment in the above Oct. 22, 2011 statement at Iowa's Faith & Freedom Coalition Presidential Forum, and also in a July 29, 2011 email from his spokesperson Katherine Cesinger to the Houston Chronicle: "The governor has long supported overturning Roe v. Wade, and would support amending the US Constitution, with the backing of Congress and the states, to protect innocent life."]
"You either have to believe in the 10th Amendment or you don't. You can't believe in the 10th Amendment for a few issues and then [for] something that doesn't suit you say, 'We'd rather not have states decide that.'"
Michael James, "Rick Perry Categorizes Abortion as a States' Rights Issue,"ABC News website, July 27, 2011
Pro: "It has been a tragedy of unspeakable consequences that, for decades, activist courts denied many Texas parents their right to be involved in one of the most important decision their young daughter could ever make: whether to end the life that was growing inside her...
And certainly most of us can agree, when it is a child making such a weighty life and death decision, parents should be involved to provide proper guidance.
For years we have not allowed a minor to get a tattoo or to receive an aspirin from a school nurse without parental permission. Should we not apply the same standard to such a life and death decision such as abortion?"
"Gov. Rick Perry Signs Parental Consent Bill," press release, governor.state.tx.us, June 5, 2005 .
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "People in China and Texas share mutual aspirations of prosperity, education for our children, and jobs that pay the bills. We are working to expand and deepen the economic relationship between Texas and China, our third-largest trading partner. We want to increase the billions of dollars in trade that flow between us each year.".
"Gov. Perry Meets with U.S. Ambassador, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs," press release, governor.state.tx.us, June 5, 2005
Con: "We want to help all Texans be productive citizens that positively contribute to society. These drug courts [overseeing court-supervised treatment for non-violent drug offenders] hold offenders accountable and help break the cycle of crime and addiction. Through intensive treatment, it is our hope that these offenders will once again be productive members of society."
"Gov. Perry Announces $1.3 Million in Grants to Support Drug Treatment and Accountability," press release, governor.state.tx.us, Oct. 15, 2005
Pro: "[Brian] Williams: Governor Perry, a question about Texas. Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times... Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?
[Rick] Perry: No, sir. I've never struggled with that at all... But in the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you're involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas, and that is, you will be executed...
I think Americans understand justice. I think Americans are clearly, in the vast majority of -- of cases, supportive of capital punishment."
"The Republican Debate at the Reagan Library," debate transcript, New York Times website, Sep. 7, 2011
Con: "The Troubled Asset Relief Program, also known as TARP, was wrong when it was signed into law in 2008, it is wrong today, and it will be wrong tomorrow. Instead of bailing out irresponsibly managed banks with taxpayer money, policy makers should focus on removing the government-created incentives that created the financial crisis in the first place…
Our leadership in Washington cannot allow this continued irresponsible and unproductive spending. As President, Governor Perry will continue to oppose and never sign a taxpayer funded bail-out. If a bank, company, or nation is 'too big to fail', it is simply too big."
Con: "If I'd been in Congress I wouldn't have voted for [the Aug. 2, 2011 Budget Control Act of 2011]. Cut cap and balance was the approach to take, and it was a bunch of political theater from my perspective. We got downgraded anyway, so why give a spend-it-all, spend-it-now president $2.4 trillion he can fritter away? I don't get it."
Todd J. Gillman, "Perry Says "Spend-It-All, Spend-It-Now" Obama Not to Be Trusted with Federal Budget," Dallas Morning News, Aug. 15, 2011
Con: "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be phased out and returned to the private sector...
[T]he current economic and financial crises prove that more than anything else, the federally guaranteed and taxpayer-backed Fannie/Freddie business model succeeded only in creating horrible investment incentives that led directly to the mortgage and housing meltdown...
Going forward, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must be completely removed from the federal government's balance sheet, either through a gradual liquidation of investment portfolios or a completely private spin-off from its current government conservatorship."
Pro: "The passage of NAFTA has not validated the claims of zero-sum protectionists who believe every job created abroad comes at the expense of existing jobs at home. Free trade has meant new jobs and opportunities at home and abroad... Since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994, cross-border trade between the United States and Mexico has grown from a $100 billion industry to a $248 billion industry."
"Text of Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks at Texas Luncheon Honoring President Vicente Fox," press release, governor.state.tx.us, Nov. 6, 2003
Con: "Federal government needs to be completely out of the energy business. Whether you are in the oil and gas business and the tax credits or whether you are in ethanol business and the renewable fuel standard or whether you are in the wind side from Washington, D.C., I do not think it is the federal government’s business to be picking winners and losers, frankly, in any of our energy sources.”
Shushannah Walshe, "Candidates Contrast on Energy Subsidies at Iowa Forum," www.abcnews.go.com, Nov. 1, 2011
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Today our economy demands 11,000 graduates a year in the fields of electrical engineering, engineering technology and computer science, while our colleges produce half that number. Why not fill those jobs with Texans instead of outsourcing them to India and China? That's why we have created a $40 million Texas Technology Grant proposal, so students will have access to not only the jobs of the future, but the skills that will prepare them."
"Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks to the Collin County Delegation," governor.state.tx.us, Feb. 19, 2007
[Editor's Note: In addition to his Not Clearly Pro or Con statement above, we have provided another Not Clearly Pro or Con statement from Rick Perry's Nov. 8, 2010 appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, available at dailyshow.com:
"Jon Stewart: Would you criticize Texas companies for outsourcing jobs?
Rick Perry: Seriously, do you want to live in India or do you want to live in Texas?"]
Pro: "Abstinence works... It works, maybe it's the-- maybe it's the way it's being taught, or the way that it's being applied out there. But, the fact of the matter is, it is the best form of-- to teach our children...
I'm just going to tell you, from my own personal life, abstinence works. And the point is, if we're not teaching it, and if we're not impressing it upon them, then no. But if, if the point is, we're gonna go, stand up here and say 'listen, y'all go have sex and go have the whatever is going on and we'll work with that, and here's the ways to have safe sex.' I'm sorry, you can call me old-fashioned if you want, but that is not what I'm gonna stand up in front of the people of the state of Texas and say that's the way, uh, we need to go and forget about abstinence."
Televised forum hosted by the Texas Tribune, Oct. 15, 2010
Con: “This legislation [NCLB] is a direct assault on federalism. It increases Washington’s power over the education of your children by holding billions of dollars over the heads of states to encourage them to adhere to specific tasting standards and requirements. Since the inception of NCLB, federal funding of schools is up more than 40 percent. In 2001, Republicans in the Senate supported the measure 43-6, and in the House, 184-34. Maybe with that great title on the bill, it was a hard one, politically, to leave behind?”
Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington, 2010
Con: “The law requires states to follow a host of very specific federal requirements to conduct standardized tests, to put in place measures of performance, and to then take ‘corrective action’ if the standards are not met. Technically, NCLB does not force states to comply with these federal standards. Rather, just like the spending hook used to induce compliance for seat-belt and drinking-age laws, the federal government reaches into our pockets, takes out wads of tax dollars, and then says that we can have them back only if we comply with federal instructions…
The transition to the Obama administration has only made things worse, of course. For instance, provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act that I agree with include some limits to the role of the federal government in education. Specifically, NCLB restricts the federal government from enacting national curriculum standards, creating a national testing system, and establishing a national database with information about every student…. However, now the Department of Education is enacting the very things prohibited by NCLB by claiming it is doing so under the authority of the massive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus bill).”
Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington, 2010
Con: "I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling in to their -- to their projects. And I think we're seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes, our climate's changed, they've been changing ever since the Earth was formed.
I don't think from my perspective that I want America to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven and from my perspective is more and more being put into question."
"In New Hampshire, Perry Calls Global Warming 'A Scientific Theory That Has Not Been Proven'," ABC News, Aug. 17, 2011
Pro: "There are already guns on campus. All too often they are illegal. I want there to be legal [concealed] guns on campus. I think it makes sense -- and all of the data supports -- that if law abiding, well-trained, backgrounded individuals have a weapon, then there will be less crime."
Con: "We Texans like our guns. We don't like meddlesome statists whos want to infringe on our right to keep and bear them...
I believe there are fundamental rights expressed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The right to keep and bear arms is one of those fundamental rights... The Commerce Clause should not be used [by Congress] as a catchall for statists to tell the people of Texas or any other state how it should handle the regulation of firearms or any other fundamental right."
Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington, 2010
Con: "The federal government's attempt to force every American to buy government-approved health insurance is an egregious violation of our Constitutional rights. The 10th Amendment and individual liberties must be protected, and I am committed to fighting the overreach of Obamacare and challenging these unconstitutional mandates, which have gone far beyond both the letter and spirit of the Constitution."
"Statement by Gov. Rick Perry on U.S. District Court Ruling on Health Care Act," press release, governor.state.tx.us, Dec. 13, 2010
Con: "You know the E-Verify is... clearly a federal program, and speaking of the federal government, that's where the problem really lies with this issue. Washington DC have been abject failures when it comes to defending our border... E-Verify would not make a hill of beans' difference when it comes to what's happening in America today. You secure that border first, then you can talk about how to identify individuals in an immigration situation."
Republican gubernatorial debate at WFAA studios in Dallas, TX, Jan. 29, 2010, available at "Replay: The Belo Debate Part I," wfaa.org (accessed Nov. 29, 2011)
Pro: "As president, Perry will substantially increase manpower, technology and fencing along the border to protect the American homeland and stop illegal immigration. This strategy has proven effective in Texas, where Gov. Perry has directed nearly $400 million in state tax dollars to do the federal government’s job of securing the border.
Perry will deploy thousands of National Guardsmen to the border until a sufficient number of border patrol agents can be hired and trained. He will order federal officials to expedite construction of strategic fencing, especially in high traffic areas where manpower alone is insufficient to do the job. And he will make greater use of unmanned aerial assets to gather reliable, real-time intelligence that law enforcement can immediately act upon."
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Every nation has a sovereign right to control its borders. As a nation of immigrants, we welcome men and women who enter our nation to better their lives and enrich our society. At the same time, while welcoming those who come in good faith, we must also stop the entry of those who intend us harm... Migrant workers are valuable to our economy, and we value their many contributions. We must ensure Mexican citizens can continue to contribute to our economy while also protecting Americans and our visitors from the horrors of a terrorist attack."
"Gov. Rick Perry Meets with the President of Mexico Vicente Fox," press release, governor.state.tx.us, Nov. 5, 2003
Pro: "I believe decades from now history will judge the actions of George W. Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan as critical decisions that brought stability and freedom to troubled regions, and peace to Americans at home. Just as Reagan stood on the right side of history in the fight against communism, so stands George W. Bush in the fight against terrorism."
"Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks at the National Center for Policy Analysis," governor.state.tx.us, Oct. 15, 2004
Pro: "September 11th taught us we must take the war to the enemy... I will always cherish the simple words of one Iraqi man embracing freedom for the first time without the fear of prison, torture or worse just hours after American forces liberated his village. In broken English, he expressed a hope shared by all mankind, 'Iraq wants to be free.' There are those who would second guess our cause and question our commitment, and that is a right they enjoy in a free society. But the words of that Iraqi man are a testament to why America must always stand boldly for freedom."
"Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks at Redesignation of the 49th Armored Division as the 36th Infantry," governor.state.tx.us, July 18, 2004
Con: "I probably needed to add a few words after that 'it's fine with me,' and that it's fine with me that a state is using their sovereign rights to decide an issue. Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn't changed. I believe marriage is a union between one man and one woman…
Indeed, to not pass the federal marriage amendment would impinge on Texas and other states not to have marriage forced upon us by these activist judges and special interest groups."
"Texas Gov. Rick Perry: 'Obviously Gay Marriage Is Not Fine with Me," frcblog.com, July 28, 2011
[Editor's Note: Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, stated the following during an Aug. 4, 2011 interview with CBN News titled "Perry 'Comfortable' with Support of Marriage, Abortion Constitutional Amendments": "...[O]ur Founding Fathers also said, 'Listen, if you all in the future think things are so important that you need to change the constitution here's the way you do it'. It takes three quarters of the states deciding that this is important, it goes forward and it becomes an amendment to the United States Constitution.
I support that for issues that are so important, I think, to the soul of this country and to the traditional values which our Founding Fathers, on the issue of traditional marriage I support the federal marriage amendment."]
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "The Governor [Rick Perry] does not support legalizing any drug. The Governor supports federal drug laws where appropriate. And while the Governor is personally opposed to legalizing the use of medical marijuana, if states want to allow doctor prescribed medical marijuana, it seems to him that under the 10th amendment, they have the right to do so."
Perry spokesman Mark Miner in an email to reporter Jennifer Rubin, "Did Santorum Bring Down Perry?," Washington Post, Sep. 26, 2011
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "I think it again is a reflection of the failure of the federal government. [After] TARP and the stimulus… you’ve got Main Street mom and pop out there trying to keep their businesses open, and a lot of times they haven’t. And they’re looking around watching Washington bail out big businesses and going, what the heck is going on here?"
"Rick Perry on 'Occupy' Movement Anger: 'This Is a Democrat — and a Republican Problem,'" www.sfgate.com, Nov. 3, 2011
Pro: "For too long, politicians afraid to face hard facts have been patching Social Security together with Band-Aids...
Ponzi schemes -- like the one that sent Bernard Madoff to prison -- are illegal in this country for a reason... This unsustainable fiscal insanity is the true legacy of Social Security and the New Deal. Deceptive accounting has hoodwinked the American public into thinking that Social Security is a retirement system and financially sound, when clearly it is not.
If only the New Dealers had been kind enough to allow workers to make their own choice about whether to participate. As we know from experience, individuals would have done better on their own. Indeed many private pension plans return 8 percent per year, compared to Social Security's paltry 2 percent or less. Also, before the government padlocked the door in 1983, municipal governments were allowed to opt out of the system."
Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington, 2010
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "The reason we have that many people living in poverty is because we've got a president of the United States who's a job killer. That's what's wrong with this country today. You have a president who does not understand how to create wealth. He has overtaxed, over-regulated the small-businessmen and -women to the point where they're laying off people."
[Editor's Note: In addition to the Not Clearly Pro or Con statement above from Oct. 11, 2011, we have provided one more Not Clearly Pro or Con statement below, from the Sep. 25, 2011 article, "Cleaning Up Washington's Mess," teapartybrew.com, Sep. 25, 2011.]
"As Governor, I've signed 65 tax cuts totaling more than $14 billion. I was the first governor to cut state spending since World War II. And we've passed sweeping lawsuit reforms, including a loser pay law, and fought Washington's intrusive job-killing regulations. It's not a coincidence that my state has gained more than one million new jobs in the past decade, or that Texas is responsible for nearly 40 percent of all net new jobs in America since June 2009. It's proof that the conservative philosophy works -- when it's implemented by leaders who emphasize actions over words."
Con: "Central to my plan is giving every American the option of throwing out the three million words of the current tax code, and the costs of complying with that code, in order to pay a 20 percent flat tax on their income... Taxes will be cut across all income groups in America."
"Text of Gov. Rick Perry's Cut, Balance, Grow Speech," RickPerry.org, Oct. 25, 2011
Pro: "The good news is that people are taking action. The Tea Party movement began in earnest as the result of boiling frustration among Americans, triggered by the dramatic expansion of government into their private affairs through bailouts and so-called stimulus plans. Hundreds of thousands of people around the country – ordinary folks- gathered at Tea Parties and organized protests and marches in towns across American and in Washington. While most Democrats have been dismissive of the Tea Parties – just witness the vulgar terminology used by MSNBC pundits whose sophomoric zealotry has no match on modern-day cable news – the Republican Party has been a hotbed of political activity in primaries, where Tea Party activists and other frustrated Americans are having a real impact."
Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington, 2010
Pro: "...[O]ur Founding Fathers also said, 'Listen, if you all in the future think things are so important that you need to change the constitution here's the way you do it'. It takes three quarters of the states deciding that this is important, it goes forward and it becomes an amendment to the United States Constitution.
I support that for issues that are so important, I think, to the soul of this country and to the traditional values which our Founding Fathers, on the issue of traditional marriage I support the federal marriage amendment.
And I also support the same with the issue of abortion, and I also support that same process for a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution so Washington will finally get the message of 'hey, quit spending all the money and quit mortgaging our kids future'."
"Perry 'Comfortable' with Support of Marriage, Abortion Constitutional Amendments," CBN News, Aug. 4, 2011
Pro: "Yeah. Let me just address Congressman Paul. And I - Congressman, I - I respect that you wore the uniform of our country. But - in 1972, I volunteered to serve the United States Air Force. And the idea that we have our young men and women in combat today, Senator, where there are people who would kill them in a heartbeat, under any circumstance, use any technique that they can, for us not to have the ability to try to extract information from them, to save our young people's lives, is a travesty. This is war. That's what happens in war. And I am for using the techniques, not torture, but using those techniques that we know will extract the information to save young American lives. And I will be for it until I die."
Con: "To build a mosque near Ground Zero would be insensitive to the victims and families of 9/11 and would make the healing process much more difficult for everyone that was touched by this tragedy... There is a more appropriate site for the mosque to be built than next to where the biggest terror attack on US soil occurred."
Wayne Slater, "Obama, Perry, and the Mosque Near Ground Zero," Dallas Morning News, Aug. 17, 2010
Rick Perry's Biography
Governor of Texas
Full Name: James Richard Perry
Marital Status: Married
Birthdate: Mar. 4, 1950
Birthplace: Paint Creek, TX
Governor of Texas (Republican), 2000-present
Chairman, Republican Governors Association, 2008 and 2011
Lieutenant Governor of Texas, 1999-2000
Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, 1991-1999
Member, Texas House of Representatives, 1985-1991
Former President, Texas State Senate
Former Member, Texas State Board of Education
Captain, US Air Force, 1972-1977
BS, Animal Science, Texas A&M University, 1972
Affiliations and Memberships:
Lifetime Member, American Legion Post #75
Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America
Elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat and switched to the Republican party in 1989.
Named among "Ten People Who Have Made a Difference" by Southern Business Development Magazine, 2004