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Rick Perry Wants to Add to the US Constitution

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, left, and current Gov. Rick Perry are going head-to-head in the race for Texas governor in 2010.

    Gov. Rick Perry thinks the U.S. Constitution has room for another amendment that Texas state lawmakers know all too well.

    The following message was sent to people signed up for Perry's campaign alerts:

    PETITION: join conservative state legislators & Gov Perry in support of balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution http://bit.ly/b2QkBE reply STOP to end.

    The link takes supporters to a Texas Conservative Coalition online petition calling for a federal balanced-budget amendment.

    Perry has signed on to the pledge, keeping with his campaign's theme that Washington, D.C., should take lessons from Texas.

    "There is out-of-control spending in Washington, and the governor thinks there should be fiscal discipline," said Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner.

    "It's working in Texas and should be practiced on the federal level," he said, in a direct snub at U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Perry's chief rival for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Miner added that the senator had been in Washington for 17 years and was part of the "out-of-control spending in Washington."

    Jennifer Baker, campaign spokeswoman for Hutchison, said the senator supports a balanced budget amendment and has voted for one in the past.  

    "Since he is governor, perhaps he should concentrate on what he can actually do, like balancing the state budget without Obama stimulus funds, which he failed to do when he had the opportunity," Baker said.

    When asked why Perry didn't push for a federal balanced-budget amendment during the last administration, Miner answered that the governor has always "advocated for fiscal restraint in Washington."

    On campaign stops, Perry can also be heard talking about Texas' balanced budget and its $8 billion surplus, which was partially made possible by the governor accepting $12 billion in federal stimulus money that was used to balance the budget.

    When asked about taking the federal money that balanced the state budget, Miner said Texans had sent that money to Washington and, if the funds were not taken, the money would have gone to another state.

    "But we would have balanced the budget without the stimulus money," Miner said.

    Perry, Hutchison and Debra Medina will all take part in the second gubernatorial debate on Friday night.  NBC DFW's Omar Villafranca will be blogging live on NBCDFW.com from the debate.  The primary is March 2.