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Rick Perry On Jews, Gays And Loving California


Gov. Rick Perry is back in the headlines again – this time for what he said about being Jewish, among other things.

Perry on being Jewish

“I’m more Jewish than you think I am,” he said while eating at a Jewish deli in California, according to a profile in the New York Times Magazine. “I read the part of the Bible that said the Jews are God’s chosen people.” He told the Times that he’s been traveling to Israel since 1992.

The Times followed him to California, where he spoke to a group of Jewish Republicans in Los Angeles.

Perry on homosexuality

During the California visit, Perry compared homosexuality with alcoholism, which generated headlines earlier this month. Perry was asked whether he thinks homosexuality is a disorder.

"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that," Perry said, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. "I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way."

During his appearance at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, he was asked about the  Texas Republican Party’s decision to endorse counseling aimed at making gay people straight. Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy, has been banned for minors in California and New Jersey. The American Psychiatric Association opposes reparative or conversion therapy. Perry told the crowd he didn’t know whether the therapy works.

Video from KPIX-TV, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco, shows part of his remarks:

Perry on California

The Associated Press reports: Perry told the New York Times Magazine "he loves California" and "might even move" there in January, when his term as governor ends. In response, Perry's office noted the governor was asked, if he could live anywhere in the U.S. other than Texas, where would it be. According to a partial transcript provided by Perry's office, he replied: "California if I could afford it." He added: "Why wouldn't you want to live out here? Seriously?"

Here’s what the Times reported:

Perry told me that he loves California, vacations in San Diego annually, visits the state about six times a year and might even move here in January when he’s done with his 14-year stint running Texas. That is, if he does not somehow decide to run for president. Perry’s standard answer about 2016 is a simple “I dunno.”


Perry’s been in the news a lot lately. Here’s a roundup:

First lady Anita Perry introduced him, hinting there’s more to come. “I’m happy to say we’ve both got some tread left on our tires,” the first lady told 11,000 pumped-up Republicans.

Gov. Perry appeared on “CBS This Morning” and talked about his poor performance during the 2012 presidential race: One of the more humbling experiences that I had in life was going through the 2011-2012 process running for the presidency. I learned a lot of lessons, the least of which is if you’re going to run for president, I highly recommend you don’t have major back surgery six weeks before you start, and that you spend a lot of time in preparation.”

The Texas Tribune reports that Perry was baptized outdoors in March “in the spring waters once used to wash the sins off Sam Houston, the first elected president of the Republic of Texas and one of the most colorful political figures in American history.”

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.