Texas governor and conservative firebrand Rick Perry took a measured approach to the federal health care overhaul Thursday, saying the law is not all bad and condemning opponents who have crossed the line into inappropriate or threatening behavior.
Speaking to reporters at the state capitol, Perry reiterated his firm opposition to the law signed by President Barack Obama earlier this week. Fixes to the legislation are still working through Congress.
But Perry also said he was troubled that members of Congress who supported the Democratic initiative had been subjected to threats of violence and obscenity-laced tirades.
"Once you cross the line of passionate to threatening, then you've got problems," Perry said. "I don't care which side of the debate you're on. If these remarks are as caustic as they've been reported, they're inappropriate."
Perry has been one of the nation's most vociferous critics of the federal health care legislation, and he said he will continue to oppose provisions that will eventually require most Americans to buy health insurance or face a fine.
"That crosses over into the line of socialism and I cannot support that in any form or fashion," Perry said.
But the longtime Texas governor said it's not all doom and gloom.
"There are things in that bill that are probably good, but the bad outweighs the good by a substantial margin," he said.
Perry, who faces Democrat and former Houston Mayor Bill White in the November general election for governor, was asked in particular if he supported the provision that allows parents to keep children on their insurance plans until they reach their 26th birthday. He didn't directly answer, but said "there are some" changes worth keeping.
"We're not going to sit here and delineate all of them right now," Perry said.