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Gov. Perry Works on his Message in New Hampshire

Rick Perry speaks to voters in Atkinson NH
Photo by Ben Philpott for KUT News
Rick Perry speaks to voters in Atkinson NH

Texas Governor Rick Perry came to New Hampshire still needing to find better answers for the topics he's stumbled over during the GOP presidential debates: immigration, HPV vaccine and Social Security.

On Social Security, the governor gave a few more specifics on how he'd reform a program he calls, "a Ponzi Scheme." He said raising the eligibility age, testing recipients to see how much they need the help and giving those under 35 a chance to take their money and invest it on their own should all be on the table to help negotiate a solution. He did not back down from his "ponzi scheme" rhetoric. But he did give his definition of a ponzi scheme - as a way to explain why he uses that language.

On immigration, the governor put together several different threads of answers he's been giving at debates and on the campaign trail. At debates and different campaign stops before this weekend, he's given one or two reasons for his support of a Texas law that gives in-state tuition to some children of undocumented immigrants.

But this weekend, he put all his responses together in to one longer - but clearer narrative of the Lone Star state's immigration policies and his support for increased border security.

He talked about the federal government's failure to secure the border, his own investment of $400 million in security and how allowing the kids who are already on the path to citizenship to pay in-state tuition was a Texas choice.

A member of Perry's staff was asked late in the day why the governor hadn't used that answer when asked about immigration during the debates. His response, "Today's answer is about 3 minutes long. Debates need 60 second answers."

Governor Perry's failed attempt to mandate a cervical cancer vaccine didn't come up over the weekend. So we may have to wait until another GOP debate to see if he's worked on that message. Although that topic may not come up at the next debate October 11th at Dartmouth. That debate will focus on the economy.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.