Rick Perry vs. the World *
Tracking the 2006 Texas gubernatorial race.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Hutchison camp fires back
Ratcliffe in the Chron:
A week after Gov. Rick Perry's campaign tried to link one of his potential GOP primary rivals to U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a 1993 letter emerged in which Perry called Clinton's efforts at health care reform "commendable."

Perry's Republican allies circulated a videotape last week that has a shot of Clinton with U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, at a nonpartisan event on historic preservation.

The videotape played up a brief hug and air kiss between the women and featured then-first lady Clinton, now the Democratic senator from New York, saying she is "delighted that Kay is my partner on so many fronts."

On Monday, Hutchison's campaign aides said the Perry letter to Clinton showed he was a hypocrite in making the videotape.

"It's a double standard. It's the ultimate in hypocrisy," said Hutchison campaign manger Terry Sullivan.

"I'm glad to see in at least some instances the governor is willing to reach across party lines," he said. "Unfortunately, it's for Hillary Clinton's socialized medicine plan."

Perry campaign manager Luis Saenz said there is no comparison between Perry writing a letter on behalf of his constituents in 1993 and Hutchison accepting praise in person from "a rather liberal New York senator."

Perry's letter falls far short of actually being an endorsement of Clinton's health care proposal. But it was written at a time when some commentators already were describing her plan of government-sponsored HMOs and health care cooperatives as "socialism."

Perry was state agriculture commissioner at the time, a position he had won in 1990 after switching from the Democratic to the Republican Party.

"I think your efforts in trying to reform the nation's health care system are most commendable," Perry wrote.

Perry asked Clinton to take special notice of the health care needs of farmers, ranchers and people in rural areas as she worked on trying to overhaul national health care.
This made the very top of The Hotline:
A week after his camp circulated a video of Clinton praising Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Gov. Rick Perry (R) has to answer for a letter in which he called Clinton's '93 health care efforts "commendable." Shocking, we know. What this little back-n-forth teaches: 1) Hutchison is still very serious about running for TX GOV. 2) Rank-n-file GOPers are incredibly obsessed with Hillary
Apparently there were inside-the-Beltway rumors that Hutchison wasn't running for guv.

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