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Gov. Perry Responds Defiantly to Indictment

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    Texas Governor Rick Perry says he stands by his veto and called the indictment against him outrageous and an abuse of power.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he stands by his veto and called the indictment against him outrageous and an abuse of power.

    Perry held a news conference Saturday afternoon, a day after a grand jury indicted the Republican on two felony counts of abuse of power for making good on a veto threat.

    The possible 2016 presidential hopeful is dismissing the charges as nakedly political. Perry is the first Texas governor since 1917 to be indicted.

    The indictments are related to Perry vetoing funding last year for a Travis County unit investigating public corruption because the Democratic official heading the office refused to resign after being convicted of drunken driving.

    Texas Gov. Perry Addresses Indictment

    [DFW] Texas Gov. Perry Addresses Indictment
    Gov. Rick Perry addressed reporters Saturday, the day after a Travis County grand jury handed down two indictments against the governor.

    The investigative unit is based in Austin, a heavily Democratic city where the grand jury was seated. The rest of Texas is heavily Republican.

    The money for the public integrity unit was vetoed at the time that it was investigating that cancer prevention and research institute of Texas, a signature project of Perry's. That triggered an ethics complaint. It's a story that The Dallas Morning News Austin Bureau Chief Christy Hoppe is familiar with.

    "There is a 'connect the dot' that some people believe that Perry was taking this action to prevent the District Attorney's office from looking further into the cancer research scandal," Hoppe said.

    Democrat were quick to respond to Perry's statement.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry Indicted

    [DFW] Texas Gov. Rick Perry Indicted
    A grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry for allegedly abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption.

    "This is unbecoming of a leader and that is why Texas Democrats have asked him to step down," said Will Hailer, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party

    Perry saw support from Republicans here in Texas and nationally as well. Fellow Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana tweeted out on Perry's behalf.

    It remains to be scene how the indictment affects Perry's possible 2016 presidential run. Lately, he's taken on the national government when it comes to border security. Hoppe said he is wounded.

    "He was rising in the polls and all of a sudden to be hit with criminal felony indictments, you know you can come out as a champion if you beat it," Hoppe said.

    "But it is still a cloud that will hold over his head for a year and that's a year that's going to be a very important in the 2016 presidential election."

    NBC 5's Julie Fine contributed to this story.