Rick Perry vs. the World *
Tracking the 2006 Texas gubernatorial race.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Another news cycle
Ratcliffe -- Chron:
Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday no one should be surprised that he videotaped potential GOP challenger Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in an appearance with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, someone who is an "anathema" to Republicans.

Perry said Hutchison's recent personal appearance with Clinton is different from when he wrote the then-first lady in 1993 praising her efforts to reform the national health care system. Clinton, the wife of former President Clinton, now is a Democratic senator from New York.

"Don't get confused that I'm for Hillary Clinton," Perry said. "She is not someone I support and certainly not going to support her when she starts running for president of the United States."

Perry's campaign last week admitted having a camera crew shoot video of Hutchison with Clinton on March 3 at a ceremony in the nation's capital on the preservation of the Sewall-Belmont House, a historic building where suffragists fought a century ago for women's right to vote.

In the short video, the pair embrace briefly and Clinton describes Hutchison as "my partner on so many important fronts."

Perry said his video showed Hutchison is "supporting her (Clinton's) principles there. It speaks for itself."

Hutchison campaign manager Terry Sullivan asked, "What principles? Historic preservation or women's right to vote?"

Sullivan said Perry is being "hypocritical" by criticizing Hutchison for a public appearance when he wrote her a letter commending Clinton for her work on what Sullivan calls "socialized medicine."

He said Perry's campaign also has lied about the role it played in distributing the video to Republican activists.

"No one should be shocked about the stalking, about following someone around with a camera. It's that the governor's campaign lied," Sullivan said.

Perry said campaigns routinely shoot such video of potential opponents. He said that he had crews take such pictures of Democrat John Sharp in their 1998 campaign for lieutenant governor and that Sharp had crews take video of him.

Perry said average Texans will see this as a routine part of politics.

"I don't think average people are surprised at all when, in the political arena, when you're hanging around with a person who is absolutely anathema to the philosophical position of the Republican Party that it's not brought to the Republicans' attention," Perry said. "I think they'd consider that to be part of the process."

Perry said the letter he wrote to Clinton in 1993 as Texas agriculture commissioner calling her work on health care reform "commendable" and "worthy" was nothing more than an effort to get her to pay more attention to rural health care needs.

"I will continue to write letters to people and that content, which I'm sure you were going to tell the entire content, is to help the people of rural Texas," Perry said.

Sullivan said, after hearing Perry's statements, "the governor is a far bigger hypocrite than I could have imagined."

Sullivan said Perry said with a "straight face ... in what seemed like one long, rambling, run-on sentence" that anyone who appears on stage with Clinton is not a good Republican but that he is "commending her for the biggest socialist policy this county has seen."
I've written before that I think the issue helps Perry more than Hutchison. No Republican facing a primary wants Hillary Clinton to say that they are "partners on many important issues" after acting friendly and hugging.

Perry obviously thinks the issue plays well for him, because he's keeping the issue alive for another news cycle. It appears that he made an effort to talk to the Chronicle -- so far, no one else has the story -- which gives the impression that Perry wants to keep the story alive.

UPDATE: The AP picked up the story.

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