CONCORD – Three weeks ahead of a return visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state, Texas Gov. Rick Perry tag teamed with New Hampshire Republican Party Chair Jennifer Horn Tuesday to accuse Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and President Barack Obama of being soft on illegal immigration.
Perry, who is eyeing a second run for President, brushed aside a question about 2016 and said his conference call with Horn was about 2014.
When a reporter suggested that his 2012 foray into presidential politics ended in failure and left many of his supporters feeling embarrassed, Perry said, “Talk about being embarrassed. I would be embarrassed if I were in New Hampshire and I had a United States senator who was so with the President on this issue that they’re putting the citizens in jeopardy by not securing the border. That to me is the most embarrassing issue that’s out there.”
The Perry call came two days ahead of the second visit to the state in just more than a month by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is also viewed as a likely GOP presidential contender when the 2016 campaign ramps up next year. The two seem to have become involved in a rivalry over New York State GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.
After Christie, who chairs the Republican Governors Association, said recently Astorino’s bid against Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo was a “lost cause.” Perry then publicly backed Asotorino and reportedly tweeted a photo of himself and Astorino from a recent RGA event in Aspen, Colo.
Perry’s call with Horn also came a day after U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown unveiled a television ad accusing Shaheen of supporting immigration policies that have created the crisis on the Texas border. Today, Brown’s campaign followed up the TV ad with a similar radio ad.
The timing of the Perry call and the Brown ad prompted state Democratic Party Raymond Buckley to question, via a Twitter post, if there has been coordination between the NHGOP, which hosted the Perry call, and the Brown campaign.
Perry, for his part, said he was not getting involved in the Republican Senate primary that pits Brown against former Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens.
“This (border security issue])is clearly about the lack of leadership that we’ve had out of Washington, D.C. over the course of the last four or five years,” said Perry. “What we’re seeing now is that people in this country are truly concerned about the lack of securing this border.
“This is one of the top issues facing this country,” Perry said. “We have brought to the attention of this administration this issue over the course of the last four or five years. We’ve been really disappointed at the lack engagement.”
Perry last week sent 1,000 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico to try to quell the massive influx of illegal immigrants, many of them children.
“After meeting with the President,” he said, “it’s clear that he’s not going to act unilaterally. The issue for us is really one about the clear criminal activity by those individuals coming across the border. A substantial number of the people coming across the border are committing crimes in the state of Texas.”
Perry added, “It goes right to the point of why individuals like Jeanne Shaheen have not voted to support securing the border. Shaheen has voted with Barack Obama 99 percent of the time. People in all states would like to see a United States Senator engaged in securing the border.
“You cannot have national security if you don’t have border security.”
Horn said, “After six years in office, Senator Shaheen and President Obama have failed to secure our borders. The senator has opposed commonsense border security measures and voted to block sending additional National Guard troops to our border as far back as 2010.
Horn also called her a “loyal foot soldier for the Obama White House.”
Democratic chair Buckley tied Perry’s recent controversial comments about gay Americans — “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way” — to Scott Brown.
Buckley said that Perry was giving what amounted to a de facto endorsement to Brown and said that Brown was in effect “hosting” the conference call, although the call was actually hosted by the NHGOP. Many, including Brown primary rival Smith, have accused the party and the Brown campaign of coordinating their activities despite the fact that is a primary campaign underway.
“Rick Perry’s brand of discrimination isn’t welcome in New Hampshire,” Buckley said. “This is the latest in a string of embarrassing and disastrous decisions made by a badly flailing Brown campaign.
“Accepting Rick Perry’s endorsement and then touting it in front of members of the New Hampshire media is truly disturbing given Perry’s consistent anti-LGBT record,” said Buckley.
He said that Brown “has linked” himself with Perry, which “should really spur families across the state to ask themselves whether this Beacon Hill politician has any sense of New Hampshire at all.”
(Our earlier report follows.)
Tuesday morning, July 29:
CONCORD — In a move with laced with ramifications not only for this year’s mid-term election, but also possibly for the 2016 first-in-the-nation presidential primary, Texas Gov. Rick Perry later today will weigh in on the U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire for the second time in less than week.
Perry, who is seriously considering a second run for the White House, will join state Republican Party Chair Jennifer Horn on a media conference fall to discuss, the NHGOP says, “the failed Obama-Shaheen border security policies.”
Perry appeared last week on WGIR-AM radio and told “New Hampshire Today” program host Jack Heath he was not surprised that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen stopped short of criticizing President Barack Obama for not going to the border to observe the crisis there when he recently went to Texas for fund-raisers.
“She votes with President Obama 99 percent of the time,” Perry said on the radio station. “If (Granite Staters) like what they see coming out of the White House, then Senator Shaheen is who they need to vote for.”
Perry’s participation in the call comes just more than a week after he ordered the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops to his state’s border with Mexico to address the influx of illegal immigrants, most of them children.
“There can be no national security without border security, and Texans have paid too high a price for the federal government’s failure to secure our border,” he said in Austin last week.
Perry is scheduled to visit New Hampshire on Aug. 22 for meetings with political and business leaders as he considers another presidential run in 2016.
A group of Granite State Republicans visited Perry in Austin in May as he had been traveling the country touting Texas’ success in attracting business, some from other states, and talking about his failed 2012 presidential bid as a “humbling experience.”
The timing for Perry’s telephone foray into the state today is interesting.
He will be on the media call two days before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another possible presidential contender, visits the state for the second time in just more than a month – this time for a fund-raiser for the NHGOP. Christie is also scheduled to campaign with candidate for governor Walt Havenstein, as he did back on June 20.
Also, the Perry conference call curiously takes place the day after Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown began focusing on immigration and border security in a new television ad — becoming the first Senate candidate in the country to release an ad on the issue, his campaign says.
In the ad, Brown says, “Thanks to the pro-amnesty policies of President Obama and Senator Shaheen, we have an immigration crisis on our hands.“ He calls for securing the border “once and for all.”
The state Democratic Party said Brown’s new ad “reeks of desperation” and said both Shaheen and Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte supported legislation calling for comprehensive immigration reform while increasing border security.