GOP Debate: Rick Perry Says Donald Trump’s ‘Celebrity’ Explains His Poll Position

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AP Photos/Breitbart composite

Former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has had a well-publicized feud with his competitor for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump, and addressed the issue head-on during the Fox News “undercard” debate Thursday for the second tier candidates.

Perry was asked about Trump’s current position at the top of polls, especially compared to his own standing that fell just short of qualifying for the main Fox News debate to be held later Thursday evening.

“When you look at the celebrity of Donald Trump, that explains a lot of that,” said Perry. He pointed out that during the 2008 election cycle, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani had been at the top of the polls for almost a year, and Fred Thompson, well-known from his appearances on the TV program Law and Order, also spent some time at the top.

Trump, said Perry, was “an individual who was using his celebrity rather than his conservatism.”

“How can you run for the Republican nomination and be for single payer health care?” asked Perry.

America needs a President who doesn’t just talk a big game, but is able to deliver real results, he continued. Perry mentioned his hands-on experience with border security issues, and how he had sent Texas Ranger reconnaissance teams, Parks and Wildlife officers, and the Texas National Guard to help with border security efforts when the federal government had failed to take action after last summer’s surge of families, unaccompanied minor children, and other illegal immigrants.

In answer to a later follow-up question about border security, Perry again cited his experience, saying, “There is not anybody on either one of these stages” — meaning the two Fox News debate stages — who has his level of experience.

“If you elect me President, I will secure that southern border,” he vowed.

 Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.


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