Any doubt whether Texas Gov. Rick Perry is ready for prime time appeared to be dispelled right off the bat at the GOP debate Wednesday night, as NBC anchor Brian Williams selected him to field the first question of the evening.
“Texas ranks last among those who have completed high school,” Williams stated to Perry. “There are only eight other states with more living in poverty, no other state has more working at or below the minimum wage, so is that the kind of answer all Americans are looking for?”
Perry’s confident reply: “Actually, what Americans are looking for is someone who can get the country working again, and we put the model in place in the state of Texas. When you look at what we have done over the last decade, we have created 1 million jobs in the state of Texas at the same time America lost 2.5 million.
“So I will suggest to you that Americans are focused on the right issue, and that is who on this stage can get America working, because we know for a fact the resident of the White House cannot.”
Perry rejected a follow up question that claimed mostly minimum-wage jobs had been created in Texas. Perry said “I’m proud of what we’ve done in Texas.”
When former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney suggested that Perry was a career politician, Perry countered that Romney had done a good job of growing jobs internationally, but not in Massachusetts when he was governor.
Perry said Texas had created more jobs in the past three months than Massachusetts had created during Romney’s entire governorship.
Romney shot back that Texas is a different state whose example doesn’t necessarily apply to the rest of the nation, Perry’s reply: “Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.”
Romney retorted that George W. Bush, Perry’s predecessor as Texas governor, had created more jobs than Perry had.
Perry’s response no doubt sent the fact-checkers scrambling: “That’s not correct,” he insisted.
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