Rick Perry: 'I'm More Jewish Than You Think I Am'

Image: Rick Perry: 'I'm More Jewish Than You Think I Am'

Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 10:47 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Departing Texas Gov. Rick Perry is considering a move to California, the Democratic-controlled state he’s often bashed for being over-taxed and over-regulated, according to New York Times Magazine writer Mark Leibovich.

In an article titled "Rick Perry's Groundhog Day," Leibovich writes that over lunch with Perry in palm tree-laden Beverly Hills, the Republican governor revealed how much he enjoys visiting the Golden State.

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"Perry told me that he loves California, vacations in San Diego annually, visits the state about six times a year and might even move here in January when he’s done with his 14-year stint running Texas,"  Leibovich wrote.

But Perry’s spokesman Travis Considine noted that the potential presidential contender made his comments after Leibovich had asked him where he would live if he could live in any state other than Texas.

In a partial transcript of the interview provided by Considine to the Associated Press, Perry said, "I would live in California if I could afford it. Why wouldn’t you want to live out here? Seriously?"

Considine pointed out that during the conversation with Leibovich the governor noted that "California’s high cost of living is a contributing factor to why people move away from such a beautiful state."

Perry’s comments on his love for California have drawn attention because he’s been one of the state’s harshest critics while urging businesses there to shift their operations to Texas to save money. He even proclaimed in a recent radio ad, "I hear building a business in California is next to impossible."

Earlier this year, Perry scored a major victory when Japanese car manufacturer Toyota announced it was relocating its American headquarters from Torrance, California, to Plano, Texas. And just last week he drove to Sacramento in a Tesla Model S electric car to in an effort to persuade the company to build a factory in Texas.

During a later appearance in San Francisco, he drew derision from audience members when he equated homosexuality to alcoholism, while also angering many other Californians and gay rights activists.

However, Leibovich appeared to suggest in his article that if Perry does move to California, he could fit right in. He wrote that Perry "was looking every bit the regular customer in a tight black polo shirt and designer glasses. His face was nicely tanned; his hair, as ever, was coifed and TV-ready."

Perry, who is not seeking re-election in Texas, met with Leibovich at the Nate 'n Al Jewish deli while he was in Los Angeles to speak to a group of Jewish Republicans.

After the governor had blessed his corned-beef Reuben and Diet Dr Pepper lunch, Leibovich said Perry told him, "I'm more Jewish than you think I am. I read the part of the Bible that said the Jews are God's chosen people." He also "boasted" that he has been traveling to Israel since 1992, Leibovich said.

Perry has not officially decided whether to make another run for White House after his disastrous campaign for the presidency in 2012 when he made a series of political gaffes, including the infamous, "Oops" comment while failing to answer a debate question.

"On paper, he remains an attractive candidate for today's GOP – cowboy, conservative, connected (and occasionally Jewish)," Leibovich wrote. "But this was also true during the last election cycle, when he entered the race as a fast front-runner in August 2011, only to fizzle into a sad punch line by January."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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