TAMPA, FL -- Gov. Rick Perry said he was "taken aback" by cheers from some crowd members at this week’s tea party debate on a hypothetical question of whether a person who decides not to buy health insurance should be refused care if they suddenly face a life-threatening illness.
"I was a bit taken aback by that myself," Perry told NBC News
and the Miami Herald after appearing at a breakfast fundraiser in Tampa.
"We're the party of life. We ought to be coming up with ways to save lives."
The Republican party ought to be about life and protecting, particularly, innocent life," he added, distinguishing issues such as the death penalty from the health insurance question. It’s a matter of justice, he said.
Perry also took on his controversial support for allowing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, saying his campaign has "the right message" on opportunities for children who were brought to the United States illegally "by no fault of their own."
"This issue is about education, it's not about immigration," he said.
"These kids showed up in our state by no fault of their own, some 2-3 years of age. And they've been in our schools, they've done their work, they've prepared themselves good, they want to be contributing members of society. So it would be I think the wrong message to say somehow or another that you can't go to our colleges, or we've going to punish you because of the sound of your last name."
"When people really think about it, I think they'll understand what we did in Texas was the right thing for Texas," he said.
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