Perry Defends Davis Comments

Gov. Rick Perry addresses the National Right to Life convention on June 27, 2013.
Gov. Rick Perry addresses the National Right to Life convention on June 27, 2013.

Gov. Rick Perry on Friday morning defended his comments about state Sen. Wendy Davis, saying he was "sad that she does not understand that every life is precious, certainly her own."

Appearing on the Laura Ingraham Show, Perry stressed that he had said he "was proud of what Wendy had accomplished," but asked rhetorically, "How many young men and women across this country didn't get to accomplish what Wendy Davis just accomplished because they weren't born?" 

Davis appeared on MSNBC earlier Friday morning to say Perry's comment "demeans the office that he holds."

“Clearly, Governor Perry has been using this issue as one to serve his own political purpose," she added.

Perry denied that the comments were a personal attack.

"I think there's a great effort by the left to deflect off the bat, to go be personal about this," he said. "But the fact [is] that we're going to be back on Monday. The Legislature is going to enact legislation prohibiting abortions after a baby feels pain."

Perry said he planned to be "civil" and "straightforward" about the debate when the second special session convenes and was confident the bill would "pass overwhelmingly" and become law in the state.

"I think the voice of the people of Texas will be heard," he said.

Perry also rejected speculation suggesting Texas could change political hands in the future, adding that such rhetoric was being used to "stir up" fundraising and supporters. "If you want to live in a place where they have high taxes and litigation and a regulatory climate that is stifling, well, you know, stay in Connecticut, stay in New York or California," he said. "Texas is a pro-life, pro-freedom state, and that's not going to change."

Perry addressed national issues and his own future during the interview, advocating states' rights to decide the definition of marriage in response to the Defense of Marriage Act ruling. "The idea that Washington should be making these these one-size-fits-all, broad, sweeping pieces of legislation are not correct," he said. "If you want to have that type of marriage arrangement in your state, that ought to be left up to your state," he added.

Perry also criticized the recent immigration reform bill passed in the U.S. Senate, arguing that border security needed to precede granting citizenship to illegal immigrants.

"We don't need a new pathway to citizenship — we've already got one," he said. He was referring to existing ways to become a citizen.

Asked about a potential run for the White House in 2016, Perry said he was focused on the upcoming special session and continuing Texas' economic growth, but that he would come to a decision by the end of the year. "I will sit down with my family, my friends, and we'll make a decision about what the political future is relative to a presidential run," he said.

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