ABC's Avila: Rick Perry 'Does Not Care' About Science, Has 'Close Relationship' with Guns
According to Good Morning America's Jim Avila, Rick Perry "does not care" about the "overwhelming scientific evidence" of global warming. The ABC reporter on Thursday offered a hostile, condescending take on the Texas Governor.
Avila used odd language to explain that the Texas Governor "has a close relationship with guns, carries one while jogging. " Rather than mention the state's record of job creation, Avila lectured, "Rick Perry's Texas pours more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere than any other state in the country and in the campaign trail, yesterday, perhaps we found out why." [MP3 audio here.]
According to the ABC journalist, "Unmistakably Texan, unabashedly conservative, Governor Rick Perry does not care about the overwhelming scientific evidence that global warming is largely produced by humans burning fossil fuels."
However, in the clip of Perry that Avila used, the Republican explained, "We are seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change."
That seems a bit different from Perry saying he "does not care" about scientific evidence.
Avila concluded my asserting, "And, of course, one of his most famous comments was his threat to have Texas secede from the union if America, he said, did not get back on track."
Actually, he didn't "threaten" to secede. Politifact explains:
In April 2010, Perry said in an interview with Newsweek and the Texas Tribune he wanted to clear up his reply on secession the year before. "It was asked as a, you know, what do you think about the people who shout out the word 'secede.' And I say that we live in an incredibly wonderful country and I see absolutely no reason for that to ever happen. …"
We rated Perry's recap of his 2009 remarks Mostly True because he didn't acknowledge in the later interview either his position that Texas has the right to secede or his initial speculation about "who knows what may come" from people angry about actions in Washington.
Also, in June 2010, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill White said Perry had threatened to secede, a claim we rated False.
Via the Nexis search tool, we found 169 major newspaper articles as of that time linking Perry and secession. But none quoted Perry threatening to push for secession, though critics and comedians framed his words in that way.
Our conclusion was that in a politically theatrical moment, Perry stated an old (and factually incorrect) claim that Texas retains the right to leave the union. That is not the same as his saying giddyap, I want to leave. Perry didn't call for secession then and hasn't since.
A transcript of the August 18 segment, which aired at 7:06am EDT, follows:
ABC GRAPHIC: Rick Perry Unplugged: Gov's Fighting Words on the Trail
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn to politics and as President Obama heads to Martha's Vineyard today for his summer break, he'll be escaping not only the summer heat in Washington D.C., but his lowest poll numbers yet on the economy. The latest Gallup poll show that only about one in four Americans think he is doing a good job on the issue most important to them. The President's challengers are hammering away at that and Jim Avila has more on the man who has taken the race by storm this week, Texas Governor Rick Perry. And, boy, he is not afraid to take controversial stands.
JIM AVILA: That's his reputation and we're seeing it already, George. Rick Perry's Texas pours more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere than any other state in the country and in the campaign trail, yesterday, perhaps we found out why. Unmistakably Texan, unabashedly conservative, Governor Rick Perry does not care about the overwhelming scientific evidence that global warming is largely produced by humans burning fossil fuels.
RICK PERRY: We are seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.
AVILA: He's not shy about taking on the President either. Mocking the claim that the border is safer than it's ever been.
PERRY: I have no idea. Maybe he was talking about the Canadian border.
AVILA: Or in his first week as an official candidate, refusing to back off his charge that if the Federal Reserve prints more money to pay off debt, Chairman Ben Bernanke would be-
AVILA: Telling New Hampshire voters yesterday-
PERRY: They should be transparent so the people of the United States know what they're doing.
AVILA: Like a Texas twister, he has sucked up political oxygen.
PERRY: I'm the product of a place called Paint Creek. Doesn't have a zip code. It's too small to be called a town along the rolling plains of Texas.
AVILA: Rick Perry's house had no indoor plumbing and his hometown no stop lights.
PERRY: My dad always referred to it as the big empty.
AVILA: Handsome. Dubbed Governor Good Hair by a Texas newspaper columnist and famous for speaking his mind. So who is this three-term governor of Texas who has never lost an election? Nine straight victories, first as a Democrat.
PERRY: The real action is right here in Texas!
AVILA: A theatrical campaigner, a natural performer who was a Yale captain at Texas A&M. Married nearly 30 years to Anita. They met in grade school and have a grown son and daughter. He has a close relationship with guns, carries one while jogging.
PERRY: The Second Amendment allows me to go jogging with my daughter's dog over here and if a coyote jumps out, I can take care of it.
AVILA: And a not so friendly relationship with the press. He once finished a tough interview with this harsh good-bye.
PERRY: Adios, mofo.
AVILA: And, of course, one of his most famous comments was his threat to have Texas secede from the union if America, he said, did not get back on track.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That is one he's downplaying now. Okay, Jim, thanks very much.
— Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.