Rick Perry formally announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination only Saturday, but critics already are launching attacks on the Texas governor on a range of issues.
Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on Tuesday that it was a “remarkable turnaround” for Perry to say he is “passionate” about America a few years after he spoke of the possibility of Texas seceding from the United States.
Speaking at the Iowa State Fair on Monday, Perry said Americans want “a president who is passionate about America” and suggested that President Obama may not feel that way. He told a reporter to “go ask him” if he loves America, National Journal reported.
Gibbs said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the statements were “remarkable in the sense that just two years ago, the governor of Texas openly talked about leading Texas out of the United States of America — and now this campaign has caused him to profess him love [of] the United States.
“Any day now, Rick Perry will ask to see the president’s birth certificate.”
Liberal economist Paul Krugman attacked assertions that Perry had engineered an “economic miracle” by guiding Texas through the recession, generating a large percentage of the private sector jobs that have been created in recent years due to conservative economic policies.
There was no such miracle, Krugman claims, noting that, “from mid-2008 onward unemployment soared in Texas, just as it did almost everywhere else.”
Krugman asserts that the state’s population growth has resulted from a high birthrate, Mexican immigration, and low housing costs — and that the growth has generated local jobs with low wages that attract corporations.
That strategy won’t work on a national level, according to Krugman, who added that Perry’s “prescriptions for job creation would work about as well in practice as his prayer-based attempt to end Texas’s crippling drought.”
The mainstream media wasted no time in going after Perry for what some perceive as the former Democrat’s shortcomings.
The New York Times on Monday ran an opinion piece by a college professor questioning Perry’s electability.
“Perry lacks the ‘hard edge softeners’ that [George W.] Bush used to great effect to woo independents and Latinos in 2000,” writes Bruce Buchanan, professor of government at the University of Texas, Austin.
“If, as Republicans hope, President Obama is so weakened on Election Day that anyone who can win their nomination can beat him, then none of this will matter. But if the president is competitive, Mitt Romney is a better Republican bet than Rick Perry.”
The Hill dredged up Gov. Perry’s decision in 2007 to implement mandatory human papillomavirus vaccinations for sixth-grade girls. The sexually transmitted virus is responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, but critics charged Perry with undermining parental authority and implicitly condoning sexual activity.
On Monday, Perry described that decision as a “mistake.”
The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus took Perry to task for his Aug. 13 statement that he is “dismayed at the injustice” that nearly half of all Americans don’t pay any income tax.
Many households pay no federal income tax “not because people have chosen to loaf,” Marcus states. “It’s because they are working but simply don’t earn enough to owe income taxes.”
She also says these households do pay taxes — state and local sales taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, gasoline, and other excise taxes.
She adds: “Perry’s statement conjures visions of America as Slacker Nation.”
Politico contends that Perry supported Al Gore’s position on climate change when then-Democrat Perry worked for Gore’s failed 1988 presidential campaign.
Perry said on Monday that “this was Al Gore before he invented the Internet and got to be Mr. Global Warming.”
Politico disputed that, but Perry flat-out said he did not agree with Gore on global warming.
Politico also ran a lengthy piece on Tuesday raising questions about some of Perry’s fundraising activities, both current and past.
According to Politico, some Perry backers worry “that the urgency Perry backers feel to catch up financially to GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is leading to sloppiness and insensitivity to perception that could leave the Texas governor and his allies vulnerable to criticisms from rivals, scrutiny from the media, and even legal complaints.”
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