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Attacking Rick Perry On Race

Sunday, October 2, 2011  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

There is no hint of prejudice or race-baiting in Rick Perry’s long career in the public eye. But the Washington Post puts the story of a fallen rock with a deeply offensive name at an obscure hunting camp on its front page in a stunning attempt to injure Perry by association with a name no one is quoted saying he ever used or did anything other than cause to have painted over.

The Post article has to be read in its entirety to grasp just how thin is the connection between Perry and the rock with the offensive place name, but here is the key line in the article: “Of those interviewed, the seven who said they saw the rock said the block-lettered name was clearly visible at different points in the 1980s and 1990s. One, a former worker on the ranch, believes he saw it as recently as 2008.”

Many, many people were interviewed for the story. Only seven recall seeing the rock, and not one of them connect Rick Perry to it, nor do any of the people –either from among these seven or who knows how many more were contacted for the piece– tie Rick Perry to offensive comments, language or actions. Though a lot of space is devoted to this story, no detailed reporting on what the seven saw and when they saw it is included, which allows for incredible supposition about the ambiguity to take root. Thus a story that could have major implications for the presidential campaign in 2012 is built on anonymous sources whose stories aren’t even detailed.

It is a drive-by slander.

Rick Perry hunted at a camp that long ago had been given an offensive name which long ago his family had taken steps to cover because of its offensive content. That’s the whole of the story.

But the Post’s story will reverberate for many days, and the left will of course use it to brand the governor unfairly in a way all southerners with the sins of their grandfathers and great-grandfathers, except those southern Democrats like the late Robert Byrd, Sam Ervin and Al Gore Sr. who really were at one time racist politicians. Please send me links to the Post’s articles from 2000 wherein the paper explored young Al Gore’s segregated roots or the impact of his father’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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