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AIM: Reuters questions Perry’s Tea Party bona fides

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From Accuracy in Media’s E.J. Fores:

A recent Reuters article entitled “Tea Party Faithful Wonder if Rick Perry Walks the Walk,” describes how Tea-partiers may be skeptical of Texas Governor Rick Perry entering the 2012 race for President.  The article claims that the “Tea Party faithful” are having serious doubts about his rhetoric, given his political past, namely that he used to be a Democrat while in the Texas Legislature.

The article brings forth the question of how much Rick Perry will be able to relate to the Tea Party movement, both in the primary and General Election. Reuters quotes one [of only two mentioned in the article] Tea Party leader saying that she “[h]as shared her doubts about Perry with out-of-state Tea Party voters — many of whom call her because they don’t trust the media. ‘They want to check facts with me.’”

Though the premise of the article is that the Tea Party may not trust Governor Perry, it takes opinions from only two Tea Party members and continually discusses Perry’s record of fiscal conservatism. Reuters even concedes Perry’s ability to “speak the Tea Party language” but then frames it by saying it “could alienate independent voters.” The argument of Perry’s inability to connect with the Tea Party is unfocused and hardly substantiated.

Reuters also tries to challenge Perry’s record as a conservative and brings up his Democratic past as a state legislator in the Texas. While Perry used to be a Democrat, and even endorsed other well known liberal figures such as Al Gore, Perry was a part of a group known as the “Pit Bulls” that pushed for austere budgets throughout the 1980s. The Reuters article then said that there are reasons to believe Perry is a spendthrift, citing the cost of his rental home while the Governor’s Mansion is being rebuilt after a fire. Such a cost, though, is practically negligible in the total state budget and more of a way to smear a personality than actually prove a point.

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