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BLITZER’S BLOG: Perry sticks to his guns
September 14th, 2011
04:52 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Perry sticks to his guns

By CNN's Wolf Blitzer

(CNN) - Whether you agree or disagree with his stance, you have to give Texas Gov. Rick Perry credit for sticking to his guns on some sensitive issues that many tea party and other conservative Republican activists actively oppose.

I’m talking about his support in Texas for in-state tuition rates for children of illegal immigrants and for a mandate to provide the HPV vaccine for young girls to prevent them from developing the sexually transmitted infection that can lead to cervical cancer.

On both of those issues, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and other presidential hopefuls openly opposed him at the CNN/Tea Party Republican Debate in Tampa, Florida, on Monday night. Some tea party supporters in the audience booed him.

But Perry did not back down on either issue at the debate or in the days since.

And although he clearly softened his position on Social Security, he also didn’t back away from his earlier highly charged criticism of it as a Ponzi scheme.

So what does this say about the Republican presidential front-runner?

To me, it says he does not want to be accused of flip-flopping. That’s been a major problem for his chief rival right now, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. That flip-flopping charge plagued Romney four years ago and continues to haunt him now.

I suspect Perry wants to show he’s tough and principled on his bottom-line issues. He probably senses that will make him a more attractive candidate when all is said and done even if some of those positions are unpopular with conservatives.

We’ll see how that strategy plays out.

Related story: Perry still smiling after rough-and-tumble debate

Related video: Rick Perry's debate night punches

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Filed under: 2012 election • Debates • Rick Perry • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. O.M Rust

    After Bachmann put rick Perry's dirty undies on the cloths line, the undies so funky the Sun refused to shine.

    The man is an illiterate DUD!!!

    September 22, 2011 at 12:13 am |
  2. O.M Rust

    Want a hayseed for President of the United States of America? One who even after graduating from college has a very poor command of the English language? A man who needs to be locked up in a mental institution...Well, then vote for Rick Perry he fills the bill.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  3. 2tired2care

    All of the current GOP candidates give me that heebie jeebie feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    September 16, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  4. Steve

    Here are some questions I would ask Rick Perry if I could, and Wolf Blitzer or someone who can *should*;

    Governor Perry, you said that giving tuition to illegal immigrants in Texas is okay regarding your political positions, because this action was a *state* action. Yet, aren't federal grants given to college students from *federal* money? Is that also a state issue?

    Governor Perry, you indicate you are for smaller government. How does your government in Texas *requiring* young women receive the HPV vaccination meet this criteria?

    Governor Perry, what constitutes a "settled" science to you? You indicate you do not believe global warming is "settled", and you were offered to help "settle" from a prominent scientist in your state. Did you include this evidence when offered, or did you choose to not include it?

    Governor Perry, is it the case that you feel the theory of evolution has "some holes" in it, is it correct to assert you do not see it as a "settled science" either?

    September 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  5. Jim in Washington

    The last time we had a rah rah Jesus Republican governor from Texas in charge. he didn't prevent 9/11, didn't catch Ben Laden, and did send the Marines to rape Muslim girls and murder their families in a country that posed no threat to us.

    September 16, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  6. Leigh

    So he's not a flip-flopper, big whoop. It remains to be seen if he truly is or isn't. What he IS, however, is a certifiable kook who wants to pray to Jesus with one hand and shoot off his automatic weapon or sign a death sentence on someone with the other. He wants to pretend he's so compassionate while destroying Social Security and Medicare for TOMORROW's seniors...the Baby Boomers of today. He wants to put forth an intelligent guise while dooming public school students to learn the Book of Genesis in science classrooms instead of SCIENCE. He is an avowed Dispensationalist, and if anyone bothers to read up on their beliefs (just tune into John Hagee, he's one of them), you will find that 1) they yearn to go to war with Iran, Israel's sworn enemy, 2) they protect Israel because Israel is needed for "Jesus's return to earth", and 3) they are highly intolerant of all who do not conform to their rigid, outrageous beliefs, and that includes other Christian denominations such as Catholics and mainstream Protestants. I WISH a moderator would have cojones enough bring these issues to the fore! But they never do. This information would frighten most Americans and would likely decide the election for them. I think few Americans want a theocratic psycho in cowboy boots as President!

    September 16, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  7. upchuck

    This Texan does not like Perry. He has sold Texas to the highest bidder/lobbyist and he will do the same to the USA.

    September 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  8. Matt

    What is the Tea Party? Despite what the progressive liberal propaganda machine would have you think those in the Tea Party are not baby eating zombies manufactured out of the reanimated bodies of dead nazi soldiers.The Tea Party is a movement of millions of like-minded normal Americans from all backgrounds, political parties, and ethnicitys, that share a core set of principles and values such as.... having a limited federal government, preserving individual freedoms, personal responsibility, free markets, and returning political power to the states and to the people. What is so crazy about that?
    Those who oppose the Tea Party are afraid of loosing all of their government freebies and hand outs that they use to purchase votes from those that they have made dependent on government assistance. The sinister truth about Liberalism is at its core it's about creating a class of dependent people whom they can manipulate into voting for them out of fear of losing their benefits.

    September 16, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  9. SSN4EVR

    As much as I disagree with most of what Perry has to say, and as much as I hate that he touts all the jobs in TX, when most of them seem to be minimum wage/no-benefit jobs, I can't help to respect him for his "what you see is what you get" quality. The problems in our country come from stupidity, greed, and dishonesty, from leadership comprised mostly of lawyers, voted into office by people who are too busy doing other things, to really care who they're voting for. While I can say with absolute certainty, that Rick Perry will have no chance at getting my vote, I can appreciate that he has an opinion, and a set of beliefs that he is willing to stand by. The voters out there, who share his values and beliefs can take confidence that they're fairly represented, by voting for him. If he wins office, it'll reflect that his opinions and beliefs were more in line with that of the population that any of the other candidates. Whichever way things go, I hope they go up.

    September 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  10. Senior Citizen

    Sticking to your guns is a sign of a closed mind, a trait that most TPs possess. If someone has careful researched and thought out issues and has changed his/her mind rationally and logically, it should be admired, not called "flip-flopping." Perry is ignorant and provincial and his mind is closed tight shut.

    September 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  11. coy4one

    Perry’s strategy? It's pointing fingers and blaming the other candidates. Other than bragging about "his success in Texas," of which is highly questionable in my opinion, I have not heard anything about his plans to fix the economy, or any other subject. Just saying he is the reason for Texas being a jobs state, of which anyone including me would have been successful for, is not enough in my opinion. Texas is an oil state, and the medical center in Houston is the best in the world and constantly growing. Neither of these began with Perry, and he is not responsible for their recent hiring binges either. The American people are responsible for the jobs success in Texas, every time you pay $3.50 to $4.50 per gallon for gasoline. Perry is a joke. With him as President, it will make George W. look like the Pope!

    September 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  12. RoninMD

    Why is the media ignoring Ron Paul? Perry is scary. I don't want some jack-hole mandating via executive order that I be vaccinated. It's unconstitutional.

    September 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  13. neil

    Proves he is not a flip flopper like rest of politicians who change facts based on the situation. Good or bad he sticks to facts. My vote goes to him

    September 16, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  14. G D

    II like some of Perry's stances, but I don't like his boasting about marginal & below living wage jobs "he's created" in Texas. That's like saying to the rest of us "Hey, I'll put you to work, but not a wages that will feed or advance your family, your retirement prospects, your education, etc." He's a scary guy...

    September 16, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  15. Maimonida

    Sticking to his guns is fine when you stick to something good. Even in this case situation can change and President shall be able to change with situation. Sticking to being ignorant, arrogant, immoral freak is pitiful

    September 16, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Freedom

      I beg everyone to please Google Ron Paul. Read about him. Learn from him. This country is headed down a really bad road, its time we start listening to the people who predicted this long ago. Find a video of Ron Paul on the internet from 1988 when he ran for president. You will find that he is talking about the same key issues as he is now. He is the only consistent politician in this race, its time we gave him the credit he deserves.

      September 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Esme

      Hear hear!!

      I am so tired of the American pundits hailing "sticking to ones guns" as a desirable trade.

      It is not – look to Bush to see where that got us. Look to the Republican Party to see where they are now taking this country straight into a major train wreck .. because they are proving how they can 'stick to their guns' no matter the cost to the country.

      I n my humble opinion this is the greatest – and most under-apprciated – trade of President Obama. Being a President of having the ruling majority (or not even, just enough to make trouble) is not a free card to play "tough sticking to my guns" policy. We need real democracy – where our politicians know how to negotiate and seek to serve ALL the people and their wishes and needs.

      September 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Leslie

      My thoughts to a tee!

      September 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • wiley freeman

      You're talking about OBAMA. Right?

      September 16, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  16. Rob

    Wolf i have a question for you and all the candidates and the white house what exactly does underemployed mean this is hard for me to UNDERSTAND does it mean someone who lost a $20 a hr job and is now working for $10 a hr or someone who feels washing dishes with a college degree or standing in the welfare or unemployment line not sure were this underemployed word developed so much popularity i cannot see where any thing other then the welfare and unemployment line is being underemployed unless people feel they should live like a billionaire with a dishwashers pay... love to hear anyone who can tell me more about underemployment......

    September 15, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Annie, Atlanta

      Or it could simply mean people who are looking for full time work and can only get part-time.

      September 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  17. Dorothy

    If Mitt Rommey thinks Dick Cheney was an "Honest and trust worthy vice president who would become president, if needed" then Mitt Rommey isn't aware that Dick Cheney is considered a war criminal in Europe and lied this country into iraq and a war that was unnecesary. I hope Mitt Rommey never becomes president of the United States. Mitt Rommey is scary.

    September 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  18. Bob

    Anyone else notice that Wolf and CNN are just like Fox news? So much for fair investigative reporting

    September 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
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