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Rick Perry’s bail-out denial catches fire
Rick Perry greets the audience before the Dec. 15, 2011, GOP debate in Sioux City, Iowa (Associated Press photo). Rick Perry greets the audience before the Dec. 15, 2011, GOP debate in Sioux City, Iowa (Associated Press photo).

Rick Perry greets the audience before the Dec. 15, 2011, GOP debate in Sioux City, Iowa (Associated Press photo).

By W. Gardner Selby December 19, 2011

At the Dec. 15, 2011, Republican presidential debate in Sioux City, Iowa, Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave no ground about a loan program that he oversaw as Texas agricultural commissioner in the 1990s.

Neil Cavuto of Fox News initially noted that noted that Perry wants Congress to stop spending so much. Then, referring to Austin American-Statesman reporting, Cavuto said the Texas program "had so many defaults that the state had to stop guaranteeing bank loans to start-ups in the agribusiness and eventually bailed out the program with the taxpayer money. So aren't you guilty of the same behavior you rail against as a presidential candidate?" Cavuto asked.
   
Perry replied: "Number one, don't believe everything you read in the Austin American-Statesman. And the second side of it is, we had that program put in place, and the state did not bail (it) out; those programs worked as they were supposed to work. Just like in any bank or any business, you are going to have some that fail."
   
No bailout?

No dice.

Perry, the state agriculture commissioner from 1991 through 1998, oversaw the Texas Agricultural Finance Authority, which on his watch accumulated an abundance of bad loans.

By 2002, the authority declared a moratorium on new loans in five of eight programs. In 2009, the Texas Legislature appropriated $14.7 million to cover losses. As governor, Perry signed that expenditure into law.

There was a bailout — and the fact that Perry approved the spending makes his debate claim ridiculous. Pants on Fire!

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Rick Perry’s bail-out denial catches fire