WASHINGTON – Rick Perry’s fumbling, stumbling campaign to win the Republican presidential nomination can add another gaffe to its growing roster: the Texas governor is the latest conservative to ridicule a fake quote in a satirical Globe and Mail piece in an effort to discredit the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
At an appearance in New Hampshire last week, Perry, struggling to regain momentum in the race, made reference to the quote, which he said was sent to him by his son.
“This was in Toronto,” he told the crowd before paraphrasing the fabricated quote in an Oct. 21 Globe and Mail essay by freelancer Mark Schatzker. The piece was clearly labelled satire.
Perry summarized the quote as: “I guess greed just makes you work hard.”
The actual fake quote in Schatzker’s piece was attributed to “Jeremy, 38,” from the Occupy Toronto protests: “It’s weird protesting on Bay Street. You get there at 9 a.m. and the rich bankers who you want to hurl insults at and change their world view have been at work for two hours already. And then when it’s time to go, they’re still there. I guess that’s why they call them the one per cent. I mean, who wants to work those kinds of hours? That’s the power of greed.”
Perry’s remarks came on the heels of a hue and cry amid the conservative blogosphere last week about the boneheaded “Jeremy.”
Conservative blogger John Hinderaker seized upon Jeremy on the Power Line blog in a post entitled: “Greed? Try Sloth!” In a later update, Hinderaker said his wife had pointed out to him that the quote was a joke but added: “The point, I think, remains valid.”
On the American Spectator, another conservative blogger, J.P. Freire, wrote: “Those perceptive Canadians notice that a disparity of income isn’t the only thing that separates protesters from the so-called one per cent.” Freire soon realized the quote was parody and quickly updated his post.
The Facebook group “I Am The 53%” also posted the quote, adding the comment: “By that logic, greed converges almost surely to having work ethics.”
“I Am The 53%” is made up of conservatives who claim they represent the percentage of Americans who pay federal income tax, suggesting the Occupy Wall Street protesters don’t.
It was in the midst of this outrage last week that Perry repeated the quote in New Hampshire.
The misstep wasn’t noticed until this week, when the Mediaite website posted video of Perry making the gaffe. But it’s just the latest in a series of eyebrow-raising moments in Perry’s flailing campaign that have run the gamut from suggesting U.S. President Barack Obama’s long-form birth certificate is fake to making a garrulous, free-wheeling speech in New Hampshire.
A YouTube video of Perry’s speech, made just hours after his “Jeremy” gaffe, went viral, but not for the reasons his campaign might have hoped.
“This is such a cool state,” Perry said.
“I mean come on. ‘Live free or die.’ You got to love that, right? I come from a state, you know, where they have this little place called the Alamo and they declared: ‘Victory or death.’ We’re kind of into those slogans: ‘Live free or die.’ ‘Victory or death.’ Bring it.”
Brent Budowsky, a columnist at the congressional newspaper The Hill, marvelled at Perry’s recent campaign conduct.
“In recent days, Perry has careened from a weird and silly digression into birther territory to a public display more worthy of a guy who had spent all night at a frat party than a would-be commander in chief,” he wrote Tuesday.
Amid rumours Perry is planning to stop participating in televised debates altogether due to his dismal performances so far, his campaign has also released a cheerful campaign ad in which their candidate declares himself “a doer, not a talker.”
Still in possession of a deep war chest, Perry is spending most of this week in Iowa, a key primary state, hoping to capitalize on the recent misfortunes of Herman Cain. The former pizza magnate, currently dogged by a sexual harassment scandal, has jetted past Perry in the polls to sit atop the field with Mitt Romney.
Schatzker, for one, the author of the Globe and Mail satire, said he’s hoping Perry succeeds in turning things around now that the governor is quoting the Canadian’s work on the campaign trail.
“It’s actually thrilling,” Schatzker said in an interview from Toronto.
“If he gets in, I am due for a major appointment of some sort, like secretary of state. This is a lifetime achievement. Everything’s downhill from here.”