Rick Perry's wife, Anita, has come to her husband's defense. In an interview with The Des Moines Register on Thursday, Texas' first lady vowed that Perry will improve from last week's debate showing in Orlando, Florida.
“He’s never had a debate class or a debate coach in his life. … He’s going to be better prepared next time," she told the paper.
"I think he would tell you other night was not his best performance," she told C-SPAN earlier this week. "But he’s only gonna get better and I think part of the attacks had something to do with it. I think when you have 7 arrows being shot at you and you have one person in the middle, then a 30-second rebuttal doesn’t give you a lot of time."
Anita Perry's comments come amid a brutal September for her husband. The Huffington Post's Jon Ward wades through the series of Rick Perry errors that led one conservative to feel "spooked" by last Thursday's Florida debate performance. The following Saturday, Herman Cain stole the Florida straw poll show, trouncing the favored Perry by more than 20 points.
The media also piled on. That evening, "Saturday Night Live" unleashed a sketch skewering Perry's erratic debate performances, with questions like "Can you speak for ten seconds without alienating your base?" The following morning, the panel on "Fox News Sunday" spread more salt on Perry's wounds, noting that he "really did throw up all over himself in the debate, at a time when he needed to raise his game."
As his wife of 28 years, Anita Perry has been a steady source of encouragement for Rick's political endeavors. The Houston Chronicle noted in July that she was influential in spearheading his presidential run, telling him, "Listen, get out of your comfort zone."
Perry's lackluster appearance at the Fox News-Google debate was highlighted by controversial comments, in response to criticisms that his immigration stance is soft.
"If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart," Perry told the audience.
The Texas Tribune rewinds to the 2001 policy behind the Texas governor's answer. Back then, Perry enacted a provision granting some undocumented students the ability to pay in-state tuition rates. His GOP counterparts have hit him for that decision, among other issues.
Days after the Fox-Google debate, Perry backpedaled on his comments, telling Newsmax in an interview Wednesday, "I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word, and it was inappropriate."