Here is video from Ottumwa, Iowa yesterday, where Gov. Rick Perry answered questions from the audience after making a brief speech to an enthusiastic group of voters there.
Perry was asked about Israel, and said President Obama has essentially “thrown Israel under the bus” by suggesting they pull back to the 1967 borders. He said America should be looking for ways to strengthen Israel, not make life more difficult for them as our friend.
He got strong applause when he said that all the “intellectual debate” about what to do about illegal immigration is just talk “until we secure the border with Mexico.”
Someone asked Perry how he could have been Al Gore’s Campaign Manager in Texas back in 1988 when Gore was running for the Democrat Presidential Nomination. Perry explained, “I never met a Republican until I was 25.” He grew up as a Democrat, and was a conservative Reagan Democrat during the 1980′s when he was first elected to the Texas Legislature. He said at that time, he still thought there was a place in the Democrat Party for conservative Democrats. At that time, Al Gore was considered a conservative Democrat, who had supported Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Perry admitted he now knows Gore already held his bizarre views on Global Warming, but that he did not know about it – which he said was his fault for not investigating more carefully. At any rate, once Michael Dukakis was nominated in 1988, Perry said he made the decision to make Democrats and Republicans alike happy in 1989 by becoming a Republican.
Perry had a good exchange with an older man who said he wants to hire people, but that he can’t find anyone who wants to work because they are making too much money off the Government by drawing unemployment. The man said he has “no doubt” that Perry’s the man who will be the next President, and urged him to do something about the problem – even offering to help Perry once he’s President. Perry laughed and responded, “You mind if I do a background check on you,” as everyone joined in laughter.
This give and take shows how Perry does in a group setting with voters. He seems very much at ease, and does well in the back and forth with people, using humor very effectively.