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Watching and Waiting: Rick Perry 2012

Perry's support of in-state college tuition for children of illegal immigrants could prove a political liability
Photo by KUT News
Perry's support of in-state college tuition for children of illegal immigrants could prove a political liability

We’ve enjoyed Watching and Waiting to see when Rick Perry will jump into the presidential race. After today, however, we will watch and wait not only by blogging on developments in the Perry campaign but by taking a look at some of the major campaign issues likely to confront candidate Perry including the economy, immigration, and a range of social issues. So stay tuned—or logged—in.

Texas DREAM Act Perry’s Romneycare?

In 2001, first-term Governor Perry signed into law the Texas DREAM Act, which provided in-state tuition at Texas’s public colleges and universities for the children of illegal immigrants.

Now, reports the Boston Herald, Tea Party members in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Texas are raising concerns about Perry’s support for the DREAM Act and a few other parts of his gubernatorial record.

Some Tea Party faithful see Perry’s support of the DREAM Act as inconsistent with their principles of fairness and toughness on illegal immigration.  This could make the DREAM Act a political liability for Governor Perry in much the same way the Mitt Romney’s support of healthcare reform in Massachusetts, dubbed Romneycare, is for the former Bay State governor.

In an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader, Perry supported the DREAM Act and said, “To punish these young Texans for their parents' actions is not what America has always been about,” he said.

Perry Downplays Concerns Over Failure to Raise Debt Limit

There has been no shortage of opinions on the ongoing debt ceiling circus and the consequences of failing to raise the debt limit from pundits and public figures alike. Links to a representative sampling would be too numerous to provide here but please feel free to Google “debt ceiling,” if you would like to learn more.

We will, however, share with you Governor Perry’s thoughts on the matter. Asked about the debt ceiling at a ceremonial bill signing yesterday, the Governor said that if Congress fails to raise the debt limit he thinks that “There is still going to be revenues flowing in.”

“I think this threat that somehow or another the world's going to come to an end and the threat of we're not going to be able to pay our bills is a bit of a stretch," Perry went on to say.  

In recent weeks, Perry has come out in support of the so-called “Cut, Cap, and Balance” idea put forward by some House Republicans. This puts him in line with many of the other GOP candidates.

Hearing on Perry’s Participation in Prayer Rally

UPDATE 2:45pm: The Associated Press reports that Judge Gray H. Miller has thrown out the suit challenging Governor Perry's participation in a prayer rally planned for August 6. Miller ruled that the Freedom From Religion Foundation does not have standing to sue and therefore the suit could not proceed. 


Afederal judge in Houston will hold a hearing to determine whether or not Governor Perry can speak at or even participate in The Response, a Christian prayer rally scheduled for August 6 that the Governor helped organize.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a Wisconsin-based non-profit, filed suit last week arguing that Perry’s endorsement of the event violates The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

As of now, the Governor still plans to attend the event. He has, however, sought to distance himself from the opinions of some of the events endorsers over the last few weeks and it is also unclear if he will speak at the event.

It is unlikely that the court will bar the Governor from participating in the rally. In April, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out a lawsuit by the FFRF challenging a national day of prayer. The court ruled the group did not have standing to sue.