Perry didn’t think Huckabee could win

Texas Governor Rick Perry has indicated he’s mulling the idea of jumping into the race for the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nomination. Perry endorsed former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s bid for the White House last time around and Perry’s tour through Iowa with Giuliani in 2007 provides some interesting tidbits to ponder.

First, Perry bad-mouthed the other former Texas governor who ran for president (and won the office).  Perry said over and over in this youtube video that George W. Bush had never been a fiscal conservative.  “He never went to ’em (Texas legislators) and said, ‘Y’all quit spending,'” Perry said of Bush.

Second, Perry explained why he was backing Giuliani over former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.  “No offense to Arkansas, no offense to Massachusetts.  They’re not big states and managing one of those states is different than managing Texas or California or New York (City),” Perry told the crowd. “…The Iowa voter is a very plugged in, conservative voter and Rudy knew from the git-go that, you know, he was probably going to be facing a pretty good hurdle…running against Mitt because Mitt has spent a ton of money here.”

This conversation happened in October of 2007 and Perry revealed back then that in the spring of 2007 former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee had called Perry and asked for Perry’s endorsement.

“Mike’s a great friend to me.  I love Mike,” Perry told the crowd. “I mean, he’s like a brother. I just don’t think he can win and I shared that with him.  And (Huckabee) asked me to be his national chairman about six months ago and I told him, I said, ‘Man, I love you like a brother, but just let me slide here.’  It was a hard conversation to call and tell him I was for Rudy. He was disappointed and a bit frustrated. I still love him and he loves me.”

Perry also was the warm-up act for a Giuliani town-hall meeting in Des Moines in October of 2007.  It was the same day Perry had publicly endorsed Giuliani during an event in D.C.

From my notes of that event in Des Moines, Perry talked with the crowd about his own record of governing a “rather large state” where Perry said he reduced a budget deficit and turned it into a surplus.  This was another subtle smack at Bush, followed by another, as Perry described himself as “arguably the most pro-life governor in Texas history.”

Perry called Giuliani an “old-school conservative” and told the crowd he (Perry) had given “prayerful thought” to his decision to endorse Giuliani.

Now, fast-forward three years, to October of 2010.  There were robocalls into Iowa testing support here for Perry.  Among the subjects raised were border security and the Tenth Amendment.  The word “secession” or the phrase “states rights” weren’t used, but you know why that was tested.

Most importantly, the survey asked respondents this:  Are you likely to support a candidate with a strong record of making tough decisions to balance budgets? Would it influence your vote if that candidate had been in office for 25 years?

Perry, at that time, had been in office 25 years.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.