In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested that “media elites” are trying to portray him as a racist in a controversy over a slur against blacks that was painted on a rock near the entrance of his family’s hunting camp in Texas.
“I think a lot of people get offended when the media elites try to paint everyone from the South who has a twang to their voice as somehow being racist,” Perry told the newspaper. “I’m very proud of my record dealing with not only that rock. When my family had the opportunity to paint over that word on the rock, we did it. I’m very proud of how we have dealt with the issue of racial diversity in the state of Texas, having appointed more qualified minorities than any governor in Texas history, including the first African American to the Texas Supreme Court.”
Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported that the word “Niggerhead” was painted on the rock at the hunting camp. Perry has maintained that his father painted over the word as soon as the family bought the property in the mid-1980s.
In the Register interview, Perry was also asked about a statement by his wife, Anita, who recently told voters in Iowa that her husband needed to work on his debate skills. He said he agreed with his wife, but, in a swipe at both his rival Mitt Romney and President Obama, said that people were looking for an “authentic” leader rather than “the smoothest politician or best debater.”
The governor also continued to speak in vague terms when asked about his plans for Social Security, calling for a national discussion rather than offering specific solutions.