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Perry's States' Rights Problem Perry's States' Rights Problem

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Campaign 2012

Perry's States' Rights Problem


DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 15: Republican presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry visits with 2-year-old Reuben Layton and his mother Anna Layton of Newton, Iowa, at the Iowa State Fair August 15, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa. Anna Layton did not know she was going to meet the governor of Texas when she put on her "Don't Mess with Texas" t-shirt this morning, she said. This is Perry's first trip to Iowa after announcing his run for the GOP presidential nomination.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has painted himself as the “states’ rights” presidential candidate, but there have been times that his record hasn’t adhered to this philosophy.

In an effort to ride the tea party wave of excitement that swept many into Washington in the 2010 elections, Perry has crafted a message centered on the 10th Amendment — the part of the Constitution that grants the states the rights not explicitly granted to the federal government.  The problem is, in order to actually win over the tea party, Perry needs to take conservative stances that often get in the way  of states’ rights.


The New York Times points to a number of examples of just this. One of the more famous instances of Perry’s struggles with states’ rights was his reversal in recent weeks on gay marriage. Perry used to say that gay marriage was for individual states to decide, but now says he supports a federal amendment banning it. He also has expressed support of federal action to restrict abortions and used $17 billion in federal stimulus money to balance Texas’s budget.

“He’s a good salesman, no question about it. But he’s selling something that’s mostly a fiction, I think,” Dave Nalle, national chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a group of libertarian Republicans, told The Times.

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