Complete coverage of Rick Perry's Presidential run

Bain Talk Better Now Than in Fall Race: Perry

Perry desperate for a strong showing in South Carolina's primary

By Brian Bakst
|  Friday, Jan 13, 2012  |  Updated 8:59 AM CDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Bain Talk Better Now Than in Fall Race: Perry

Getty Images

Texas Governor and Republican candidate for president Rick Perry laughs during a town hall style campaign event a in Clarinda, Iowa.

advertisement

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry refused Thursday to retreat from disparaging comments about rival Mitt Romney's business record, saying the GOP will be better off airing those concerns now than letting Democrats exploit the issue this fall.

Even as he toned down campaign rhetoric over Romney and his work at private equity firm Bain Capital, Perry told The Associated Press that he believes criticism of businesses practices by Bain "has penetrated" in South Carolina. The state's unemployment rate, 9.9 percent in November, is higher than the national average.

"If that's a flawed candidate because of that practice we need to talk about it now," Perry said. "I can promise you, this wasn't something that wasn't going to get talked about. I think it's better that we talk about it now in January instead of in September."

The Texas governor has endured blowback from conservatives who saw his description of "vulture capitalism" as an affront to free-market values. Earlier Thursday, a prominent Perry supporter switched his allegiance to Romney over the issue.

Investment fund executive and top GOP donor Barry Wynn told the AP he was leaving the Perry fold to endorse the former Massachusetts governor. Wynn said Perry's attacks on Romney's time at the helm of Bain had crossed the line.

"I've been fighting for this cause most of my life," Wynn said. "It's like fingernails on the chalkboard. It just kind of irritated you to hear those kind of attacks."

Walking the streets of Summerville, Perry was hearing it from voters, too.

Barbara Schimp pulled the candidate aside to tell him to "lay off" the Bain attack. She told Perry, whom she supports, that it sounded anti-business.

"Roger that," Perry told her with a wink.

Schimp, a former paramedic who moved south last year from Michigan, told a reporter that she knows Perry is pro-business but that the Bain focus "makes him sound like he's anti-business."

"He's got all the jobs down in Texas so he doesn't need to sound like he's anti-business," Schimp said.

Perry is desperate for a strong showing in South Carolina's primary on Jan. 21 to keep his presidential hopes alive. He finished at or near the bottom of the pack in voting in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Asked if he would commit himself to taking his campaign to Florida no matter how he performs in South Carolina, Perry told the AP: "I'm committing to go in there and talk to those people" -- then walked into a steak-and-seafood restaurant for a town hall meeting.

Tracking Rick Perry:
For the latest on Rick Perry's run for the White House, click here to see our special Tracking Rick Perry section. View videos, photos, and stories on the Texas governor's presidential run.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Get NBCDFW on Mobile!
Get NBCDFW's free news and weather... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out