Newsmax’s exclusive interview
with Texas Gov. Rick Perry is lighting up the Internet with his apology for saying that anyone who opposed giving tuition breaks to the children of illegal immigrants “did not have a heart.”
Perry told Newsmax.TV that he regretted his poor choice of words during the Sept. 22 presidential debate, but he stood by his view that the decision in his state to extend tuition breaks was the right one.
“I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word and it was inappropriate,” Perry said. “In Texas in 2001, we had 181 members of the Legislature — only four voted against this piece of legislation — because it wasn’t about immigration it was about education.”
Editor's Note: See our exclusive interview with Rick Perry — Go Here Now.
It was a rare concession by a confident candidate who took the GOP presidential campaign by storm several weeks ago, and it drew plenty of comment from leading U.S. and overseas news outlets.
“His retreat, which came after a week of being slammed by conservatives who back tough treatment for illegal immigrants, signals how much Mr. Perry’s campaign was worried about the political repercussions,” reported The New York Times blog The Caucus.
CBS reported that “Perry continued to defend his policy decision, pointing out that the measure had near-universal support in the Texas Legislature. He argued that the policy is more about education than immigration.”
“The real immigration policy that needs to be addressed, he said, is the federal government's failure to secure the southern border. He said his 10 years of experience as governor of Texas made him well-qualified to handle the issue.”
According to Google on Thursday morning, there were nearly 76,000 results for the three search words “Newsmax,” “Perry,” and “heartless.”
The Washington Post said Perry’s admission to Newsmax had come because he was “facing a conservative backlash,” especially after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had criticized his stance during Tuesday’s speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
The widely respected National Journal, also quoting Newsmax’s interview, wrote that Perry “walked back some comments on immigration.”
Glenn Beck’s website, “The Blaze,” was a bit more harsh: “As time progresses, it seems like more and more conservatives are finding themselves disenchanted with the presidential contender’s take on border security, immigration policy and the like.”
The New York Post said Perry had “two-stepped his way back from provocative comments at last week’s debate,” in the Newsmax interview, while the Huffington Post said he “sounded apologetic.”
The Reuters news agency suggested that Perry’s campaign had sustained damage in the Newsmax exclusive.
“Perry's comments suggested his campaign recognized the comment presented a problem for him within the conservative base, which has a hard-line stance against illegal immigration,” Reuters reported. “The Romney campaign has pounced on the issue to try to raise doubts about him among conservatives.”
Other major U.S. newspapers reporting the Newsmax interview included USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald, and Perry’s two major home-state papers, the Houston Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News.
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