Fact Check: Hutchison and Perry



Dave Mann

So who’s more anti-Washington: Rick Perry or Kay Bailey Hutchison?

The governor has portrayed Hutchison as a big-spending Washington insider.

But yesterday — in what the state media is hyping as the unofficial start of the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary — Hutchison countered Perry’s criticism, saying she too is an anti-Washington candidate.

So who’s the true anti-Washington crusader in this race? Well, let’s examine the contenders.

First there’s Texas’ senior senator, who’s served in D.C. for nearly 15 years, and brings home her share of federal pork, which, of course, is her job. She also voted for the first Wall Street bailout, though she later opposed the Obama stimulus package.

That led Perry to say she was for the stimulus before she was against it (eat your heart out, John Kerry.)

The guv, meanwhile, talked for most of the year like he’d rather jump off a bridge than accept stimulus money from the feds. And he did reject federal aid for the state’s unemployment fund, at the behest of the Texas Association of Business.

But he also signed a budget that was balanced with $12 billion in federal stimulus money. Most recently, Perry requested another $4 billion in stimulus funds for education, bringing Texas’ stimulus total to $16 billion.

So Hutchison’s folks could have said that Perry was against the stimulus before he was for it. (They didn’t say that; instead they just called him a hypocrite.)

Behind the rhetoric and posturing, they’re both neck-deep in “Washington,”  and they both know it.

In fact, Hutchison got it right yesterday — albeit unintentionally so — when she said, “I”m just as anti-Washington as [Perry] is.”

Sounds like she nailed it.

Do you think free access to journalism like this is important?
The Texas Observer depends on support from its members to keep telling stories like the one you are reading now. This fall we're looking for 200 more sustaining members—people like you who can give us as little as $0.99 per month. Your membership means we can continue shedding light on issues that might otherwise go unreported. Can we count on you?

Dave Mann is a former editor of the Observer.