Iowa Independent: Texas congressman: Perry not a secessionist

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-East Texas) says he’s known Rick Perry since college days and dismisses much-publicized comments from the GOP presidential candidate about Texas leaving the union.

This article first appeared online at on August 16, 2011.

Texas congressman: Perry not a secessionist

By Douglas Burns

CARROLL — U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-East Texas) says he’s known Rick Perry since college days and dismisses much-publicized comments from the GOP presidential candidate about Texas leaving the union.

“I think those comments were made tongue in cheek,” Gohmert said. “I’ve talked to Rick. I’ve known him since Texas A&M. And I know he has no intention of ever seeing Texas secede. That may play well in some sectors. I think the Civil War pretty well decided whether a state can secede or not. Of course, we’re stronger as a country united and I know he knows that, so we’ll see what he says from here.”

According to Politico, in a March 2009 interview with bloggers, Perry said Texans have a “different feeling about independence.”

“When we came into the nation in 1845, we were a republic, we were a stand-alone nation,” the governor can be heard saying, according to Politico. “And one of the deals was, we can leave anytime we want. So we’re kind of thinking about that again.”

It is not the only time Perry has referenced secession.

On another issue related to Perry’s campaign, Gohmert, a congressional ally of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said it was unfortunate that Perry “stepped on” the Iowa Republican straw poll by announcing his candidacy on Saturday in Charleston, S.C., as the major GOP event in Ames was underway.

Gohmert also addressed a question about reported friction between former President George W. Bush and Perry.

“I’ve read that too,” Gohmert said. “I’ve never heard President George W. Bush say that and I’ve never heard Governor Perry say that, and I’ve been around them both a lot.”

Gohmert said Bush operative Karl Rove has made some unflattering comments about Perry, but he sees no attempt from the former president’s camp to sabotage Perry’s White House bid.

Gohmert joined some of the nation’s most prominent social conservatives in Carroll Friday afternoon to rev up pre-Iowa straw poll support for traditional marriage and the pro-life cause.

Representatives from the Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage and pro-life organizations combined forces on a “values bus” that made its way through central and western Iowa, stopping just east of the Carroll County Courthouse early Friday afternoon to greet about 30 people gathered for the event.

“It’s a godly foundation that has made America the greatest country in history,” Gohmert said.

Gohmert, a close friend of U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said the Obama administration is leading in a way that breaks down the American family.

Former Colorado congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave said truly pro-life voters need to hold candidates accountable. Specifically, she called for the de-funding of Planned Parenthood, a move Musgrave said would advance simultaneously the interests of the unborn and fiscal responsibility.

“He (President Obama) has appointed pro-abortion justices to the Supreme Court,” Musgrave said.

The Family Research Council’s president Tony Perkins said big government is replacing strong families in the United States.

“We’ve created policies that have struck at the very heart of the American economic engine,” Perkins said.

He singled out the Environmental Protection Agency for criticism as well, saying that federal organization “does nothing more than prevent the creation of jobs.”

In the interview following the event, Gohmert, a former Texas district judge, addressed his views on potential penalties for abortion should his pro-life view prevail and such procedures become prohibited.

“That’s something that I’m open to debate and consider,” Gohmert said. “I just know it’s wrong to take a life.”

Should the penalties be on the level of speeding tickets or capital crimes?

“It is too serious to be a speeding ticket, but at the same time you have to look more at the most informed person in the relationship and that’s the doctor,” Gohmert said. “Often you have a young woman whose been told she never has to worry about the consequences of inappropriate behavior, that we’ll always take care of that.”

That said, Gohmert said he doesn’t think women should be held harmless legally for abortion in a world where it is illegal. But he wants the courts to focus on the doctors.

“I would normally tend toward a harsher penalty for a doctor who persuades a mother to end a life,” Gohmert said. “I think it’s a debate worth having, and I’m glad you bring up the question. I don’t have a settled opinion yet.”

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