Perry: “I have a strong record” on immigration (AUDIO)

Governor Rick Perry

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry offered up some rhetorical stiff-arms this evening to “pundits” and to those who have criticized his record on immigration.

AUDIO of Perry’s 15 minute speech

“Three months to go before the Iowa Caucuses and, you know, I’m kind of reminded that the pundits don’t choose presidents. The people of Iowa do. That’s a fact. And I’ll tell you, Iowa voters, they’re not looking for the most polished candidate. They’re looking for the most principled candidate,” Perry said during a speech at a Johnson County GOP fundraiser in Tiffin, Iowa.

Perry suggested Iowa voters are looking for a candidate who is “authentic” and “principled” and “somebody who will look ’em in the eye.”

A few minutes later, Perry addressed the immigration issue head-on.  “Some people talk about, well, you need to do X, Y, and Z along the border. Let me tell you, for a decade, I live it every day. I understand exactly what’s going on along that border,” Perry offered up. “…We have a war, literally, in places along that border.” Perry promised to “do the constitutional duty of the United States and secure that border” — a declaration which drew applause.

“…I have a strong record when it comes to dealing with this issue of immigration,” Perry said, mentioning some of the actions he’s taken as governor — deploying Texas Rangers to the border; vetoing a bill that would have given driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. He not mention the controversial policy of granting in-state tuition to students who are illegal immigrants.

He took a few questions from the audience and the event concluded at 7:36 p.m.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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