Texas Gov. Rick Perry said it would be "over the top" to file criminal charges against U.S. marines who were recently captured on video urinating on corpses in Afghanistan.
“Eighteen to 19-year-old kids make stupid mistakes all too often, and that’s what occurred here,” he said on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday.
Several U.S. Marines were pictured in an Internet video that went viral this week. The incident, which was denounced by top U.S. military officials, is currently under investigation.
“What's really disturbing to me is just, kind of, the over-the-top rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military," Perry said, in what may have been a nod to the military contingent of the GOP he’s been courting in South Carolina. He added that, “To call it a criminal act, I think, is over the top.”
Perry also brushed off the choice of over 150 Evangelical leaders and conservative activists to endorse Rick Santorum on Saturday after meeting in the governor's backyard and proclaimed that he intends to continue his campaign on to Florida, even if he places last in South Carolina.
“You’re not going to get everybody to love you,” he said.
Though the group said they agreed with Perry on the issues, they didn’t think he was electable. Perry countered on Sunday, citing Ronald Reagan’s win in South Carolina in 1980 as evidence that he remains competitive in the race, despite having finished fifth and sixth in Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively.
Perry added that no matter what happens in South Carolina, he intends to compete in Florida in February.