Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Perry: Obama is an American citizen




ST PETE BEACH - Texas governor Rick Perry clarified Wednesday that he has no doubt that Barack Obama was born in the U.S., saying that he was only kidding around when he voiced doubts in a TV interview earlier this week.

Perry made the comments in an exclusive Political Connections interview to air Sunday on Bay News 9. He was at the Tradewinds Island Grand resort in St. Pete Beach for a $1,000-per person breakfast fundraiser that drew about 50 people.

In the interview he touted his new tax proposal for an optional 20 percent tax plan, saying it was superior to businessman Herman Cain's flat tax proposal because it does not include a national sales tax.

Perry, 61, is trying to revive a campaign that has plummeted in the polls after shaky debate performances and attacks on his anti-illegal immigration record in Texas. In the interview, he acknowledged his weak debate performances saying America already has a great debater in Barack Obama and that what's more important is his Texas record leading the nation in job creation.

He described Romney as a serial flip-flopper whose positions on basic questions from gun control to abortion to gay rights shift depending on the office he's seeking.

In a CNBC interview earlier this week, he managed to distract from his new tax proposal by saying, ""I don't have any idea," when asked if he believes the Hawaiian birth certificate released by the president is authentic. "It's a good issue to keep alive," he said then.

He declined to address that issue Tuesday, but in today's interview with Al Ruechel and me he made clear that he no longer thinks it's a good issue to keep alive. He declared that he has no doubt Obama is an American citizen.

On other issues:

***Perry said he would leave it up to states like Florida to decide whether to allow offshore drilling near their shores.
***He said he opposes a proposal in Texas to create a license plate featuring the Confederate flag: "We don't need to be scraping old wounds."

***The governor who once shot and killed an aggressive coyote on a morning job with his laser-sighted Ruger, declined to say whether he was packing heat in Florida. "That's why they call it a concealed weapon."

Here's the trascript of Perry on Obama's birth certificate:





Adam: Jeb Bush said the other day, the Republican candidates should categorically reject the notion that Barack Obama was not born in America. This came after you expressed doubts about that.. what would you say to him?

Perry: "I don't think I was expressing doubts. I was just having some fun with Donald Trump. So I...

Adam: Are you comfortable that he's an American citizen?

Perry: "Oh yeah. It's fun to... ya know lighten up a little bit.. "

Adam: So you have no doubt he's an American citizen?




Perry: "I have no doubt about it. But here's the more interesting thing. Let's lay out our income taxes. Let's lay our our college transcripts. Mine's been on the front page of the paper. So if we're going to lay out all these things, let's lay them all out. So, whether it's college transcripts or income tax, lay them all out. Let the people take a look at them."

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 1:22pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours