Perry slams Hillary, Cruz

Texas Politics



After months of hinting, Hillary Clinton finally announced she’s running for president.

The former first lady, New York United States senator, and Secretary of State under Barack Obama, who beat her for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, has negative ratings that make her a favorite target for competitors.

Republican presidential hopefuls think presenting themselves as most likely to beat Hillary will help them raise money.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for instance, used the specter of another President Clinton, after eight years of Bill and eight more of Obama, to scare voters so much they’ll send him money.

Hillary announced on Saturday, June 13, in New York. Perry immediately issued a fund-raising email slamming her.

“Minutes ago, Hillary Clinton re-launched her presidential campaign after two months of avoiding voters and refusing to answer questions about her troubling record. Our country needs a leader we can trust and it’s not Hillary Clinton.

“Americans are looking for experienced leadership and optimism that can guide our country to better times,” Perry wrote. “We want to look toward a brighter future, not backward at the failed policies of the Obama-Clinton years.”

The e-mail has a dark, unflattering picture of her, inscribed “STOP Hillary.”

“The bottom line,” the e-mail continues, “is a Hillary Clinton presidency would represent Barack Obama’s third term.”

Now, the Perry for President money pitch:

“If you aren’t ‘ready for Hillary’ either, please consider joining my team as I work every day to earn your vote. Any contribution — $5, $10, $25, or whatever you can give at this time – will immediately help our campaign’s efforts.”

For Perry, this might be tit for tat. On June 4, as Perry announced his candidacy in a Dallas suburb, Hillary criticized him in a speech at predominantly African-American Texas Southern University in Houston. Perry as governor actively worked to make it harder for people to vote, Hillary said.

“Former Gov. Rick Perry signed a law that a federal court said was actually written with the purpose of discriminating against minority voters,” Hillary charged. “He applauded when the Voting Rights Act was gutted.”

She criticized Texas under Perry, for laws that don’t allow student IDs as valid identification to vote, but will accept concealed handgun permits.

• • • Perry’s announcement speech got in a few digs at some other presidential candidates, including home-state junior U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

“The question of every candidate will be this one: when have you led?” Perry said. “Leadership is not a speech on the senate floor, it’s not what you say, it’s what you do.”

Ouch! Cruz in 2013 vaulted to national fame with a 21-hour quasi-filibuster speech protesting Obamacare.

All it accomplished was shutting down the government for 16 days, costing taxpayers $24 billion in lost government productivity, and confirming the growing bi-partisan view of Cruz as a self-important jerk.

Perry also charged that Washington is the wrong place to look for leaders – when at least five U.S. senators are seeking the presidential nomination of their party – including Cruz.

“And we will not find the kind of leadership needed to revitalize the country by looking to the political class in Washington,” Perry said.

He had stymied a challenge from then-Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2010, basically by hanging Washington around her neck.

• • •

Adios, Iowa Straw Poll. . . . Republican party leaders in first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state Iowa faced a grim situation: what if you held a presidential straw poll, and most candidates declined to participate?

The leaders, in a conference call, voted unanimously to junk the poll, despite its having been a money-maker for the party for almost four decades. They figured out if they held it, and most candidates opted out, it would have no predictive meaning – and could undermine Iowa’s coveted role as a meaningful first test for presidential hopefuls.

• • •

Medicaid Expansion March. . . . A half dozen Texans were among more than 60 people from 12 states who marched from North Carolina to Washington D.C., to charge that rural hospitals are closing because their state leaders have refused to accept federally financed Medicaid expansion.

Dozens of rural hospitals have closed for a lack of customers who are working poor, including hospital workers, but can’t afford health insurance. Medicaid expansion would provide it to about a million people, said Peter Clark, communications director for Texans Care for Children.

Texas marcher Lauren Jackson, from Shelby County, said a little girl choked on a grape and died after her family found the local hospital shut down.

“I am walking because I come from a community once devastated by hospital closure, and I want to prevent other Texans from experiencing similar tragedies,” Jackson said.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, like predecessor

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