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Watching Texas Gov. Rick Perry munch a hamburger in San Antonio, conservative pundit George Will developed a column on the Republican’s potential as a presidential aspirant, while dipping into assertions we’ve chewed over before.
Recalling Perry’s party switch in 1989, Will quotes Perry as saying that his move made both parties happy. We’ve touched on that issue before, rating Mostly True GOP gubernatorial challenger Debra Medina’s statement in January 2010 that Perry had previously been a Democrat who "worked for Al Gore as his campaign manager." Perry served as the Texas chairman of Gore's 1988 presidential campaign, not as his national campaign manager.
Will adds that Perry, a Texas House member before ascending to statewide office, "has never lost an election." That’s correct, as mentioned in our recent check of a statement by rocker Ted Nugent.
Will goes on: "Supposed examples of Perry’s extremism evaporate in sunlight. One is that he intimated support for Texas’s secession from the Union. After people shouted ‘Secede!’ at a rally, he said that he understood their frustration but added: ‘We’ve got a great union. There is absolutely no reason to dissolve it.’ "
The columnist’s summary reflects on Perry’s April 2009 appearance at a tea-party rally in Austin, but it leaves out a few details.
Perry did not speak to secession during the rally, but only after his speech, when a reporter asked about such sentiments. The governor also left the idea of secession hanging.
Per secession, Perry replied at the time: "Oh, I think there’s a lot of different scenarios. Texas is a unique place. When we came in the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that."
Perry continued: "We’ve got a great union. There is absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what may come out of that?"
All told, we’ve concluded, Perry did not call for Texas to secede. In July 2010, we rated False such a claim by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill White.
Will’s column also touches on job gains in Texas, stating that since the economic recovery began two Junes ago, Texas has created 37 percent of America’s net new jobs. That’s a topic covered in our latest review of a Perry jobs claim, in which the governor gave Texas credit for 48 percent of the jobs gained nationwide over the past two years.
Richard Fisher, president and CEO of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank recently told the Wall Street Journal that Texas accounted for 37 percent to 45 percent of post-recession net job gains nationally. Still, other economists called Perry’s claim misleading. We rated it Half True.
George F. Will, op-ed column, "Rick Perry: A Texan’s ‘exceptionalism,' " The Washington Post, June 24, 2011