Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) believes the voters in key 2016 presidential primary states don’t care about his indictment — and he has the anecdotal evidence to prove it.
In a Monday morning radio interview on 660 AM The Answer, Perry told listeners they would be “stunned” to learn how many people in New Hampshire recently thanked him for sending National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico.
“The average citizen that came to the events we were involved with, very rarely was this indictment even mentioned. You would be stunned how many people came up and said, ‘Governor, thank you for taking action on the border. Thank you for defending that border with Mexico. Thank you for doing something,'” Perry recalled.
Perry, who visited New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday, ostensibly to campaign for local GOP candidates, said his strong position on the border had even won the admiration of law enforcement figures in the Granite State. He then pointed to several other top 2016 primary states, including Iowa and South Carolina, as other examples of where his message is resonating.
“Almost 2,000 miles away from the border … a district attorney came up to me, and he said, ‘Governor, thank you.’ He said, ‘I’m having to prosecute individuals who have come into this country illegally, that are committing crimes against our citizens. Thank you for stepping into the gap. Thank you for doing what you’re doing.’ That’s what’s really driving people out there,” Perry said. “Most people look at this indictment, they make their own decision about it. But I’ll tell you, that’s not what the people of … Iowa, not New Hampshire, not North Carolina [are thinking about]. I’m heading to South Carolina, football season’s getting started.”
Perry was indicted earlier this month on charges he improperly used his office in an attempt to force the resignation of a district attorney who ran a state-level public integrity unit out of her office. Perry threatened to veto the funding for the integrity unit and then did so — an act he argues was perfectly appropriate after the district attorney was arrested for drunk driving.
In spite of Perry’s self-proclaimed popularity in New Hampshire, at least one prominent Republican is shying away from him after the indictment. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R), who is facing a tough re-election fight this year, removed Perry’s endorsement video from his website several days ago. According to the Associated Press, Corbett’s campaign “did not want the indictment to distract from the campaign.”
During his radio interview, Perry declined to comment on the Corbett move. Instead, Perry again pointed to his support in New Hampshire as a sign the charges weren’t dragging him down.
“I think political staff make decisions day in and day out. I’m not going to delve into that,” he said. “But I can assure you that those that are running in offices in New Hampshire were more than happy to be standing by me having their picture made.”
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