Now Reading
Perry goes after 'prolific earmarker' Santorum
nationworld

From the archive: This story is more than 10 years old.

Perry goes after 'prolific earmarker' Santorum

Texas governor says he's 'scratching his head' over rival's fiscal claims

WASHINGTON, Iowa — On the heels of the CNN/Time poll showing Rick Santorum climbing into third place in Iowa, Gov. Rick Perry took a swipe at him during the first stop of his bus tour Thursday.

Launching into a stump speech focused on Washington overreach, he went after the former Pennsylvania senator for being a "prolific earmarker" during his time in Congress. Perry said that when he hears Santorum talk about being a fiscal conservative, it leaves him "scratching my head."

"There are other conservatives out there, but their records don't always square with their rhetoric," he told a coffee shop crowd of about 60 people.

The poll, released Wednesday, showed Santorum more than tripling his support in Iowa since the beginning of the month. Perry was in fifth place behind Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Santorum, and Newt Gingrich. The Perry campaign also released an ad today attacking Washington insiders, saying "the fox guarding the henhouse is like asking a congressman to fix Washington: bad idea."

In Iowa Thursday, he zeroed in on Santorum.

"As we talk about the things that are wrong with Washington, D.C., these earmarks are a great example," he said, adding that Santorum "loaded up his bills with Pennsylvania pork. He even voted for the bridge to nowhere."

He then quoted Santorum in 2009 saying that he had "a lot of earmarks" and was proud of the ones he had put in his bills. Perry, who has three more stops in Iowa today, also vowed as president to veto any bill that crossed his desk that contained an earmark.

"You know you can choose the various insiders who've spent I think some 63 years in the United States Congress or Obama, they are the ones who got us into debt, they're the ones who've been voting for these earmarks," he said. "Or you can pick a governor who's a Washington outsider, who's been fighting this fight for some time."

After the event, Perry said he planned to continue his campaign after Iowa. When asked if he would stay in the race no matter what the outcome on Tuesday, he said that was up to "God's will."

Morgan Smith was an editorial intern and columnist at Slate, in Washington D.C., before moving to Austin to enter law school at the University of Texas in 2008. (She has put her degree on hold to join the Tribune’s staff.) A native of San Antonio, she has a B.A. in English from Wellesley College.

Read more about

— 30 —

Best in Internet Exploder