On today's free Houston Chronicle web site there is an article entitled: "Governor: Latest Perry 'oops' moment belongs to wife Anita" (also here at Bloomberg). The gist of the article (which you can read for yourself) is this:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry today owned up to an “oops” moment that wasn’t even his.

His wife, Anita, misspoke when she told a journalist that abortion is a woman’s right, Perry, 63, a Republican who opposes terminating pregnancies, told a crowd in Smithville, New Jersey.

“From time to time we’ll stick the wrong word in the wrong place, and you pounce upon it,” Perry told reporters at a campaign event for U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan, a 57-year-old Republican from Bogota.

Anita Perry made her remark Sept. 28 during an interview at the Texas Tribune Festival at the University of Texas in Austin, according to the newspaper.

“That could be a woman’s right, just like it’s a man’s right if he wants to have some kind of procedure,” Perry was quoted as telling editor-in-chief Evan Smith.

Think that's it--end of story--full stop? Hardly! To hear the rest of the story follow me below the orange croissant.

Now also in today's version of the Houston Chronicle web site that's behind their paywall (and in the print version which was delivered to my house this morning), the terrific Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg has a more complete version of this story: "Gov. Perry should respect his wife's point of view on abortion" (behind paywall, sorry). In addition to all the above she also adds:

Apparently, he [Gov. Perry] has little interest in what his wife of 31 years thinks on the topic, either.

Anita Perry, during an interview at the Texas Tribune Festival at the University of Texas on Saturday, seemed to answer honestly and thoughtfully when asked about her views on abortion: that she's personally against it, but that women have the right to choose for themselves.

The comment, coming from the wife of a man who touts himself as the Most Pro-Life Governor in the Nation, caused a stir. The governor made it worse Tuesday when, rather than respecting his wife's right to her own views, he seemed to chalking up the little lady's comments to her own oops moment.

But then, she opened up about the complex feelings many of us have about abortion.

"That's really difficult for me," she told the Tribune's Evan Smith. "Because I see it as a woman's right. If they want to do that, that is their decision. They have to live with that decision."

Didn't skirt the issue

Smith went out of his way to clarify: "Mrs. Perry, I want to be sure that you didn't just inadvertently make news," he said as an audience looked on. "Are you saying that abortion is a woman's right, to make that choice?"

Sensing a political misstep, the first lady tried to get back to the script, referring to abortion as a state's issue.

"Right," Smith pressed. "But your personal point of view is that it's a person's decision within the law to make that choice?"

She could have backtracked. She could have skirted. Maybe her West Texas straightforwardness wouldn't let her. Maybe it was her time working with nonprofits such as the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. Whatever the reason, Perry stood firm and seemed genuinely surprised that her simple recognition of women's rights would constitute a headline.

"I don't really think that's making news," she said. "I think, yeah, that could be a woman's right. Just like it's a man right if he wants to have some kind of procedure. But I'm not, I mean, I don't agree with it and that's not my view. But I'm not going to criticize Wendy Davis."

Different views OK

Anita Perry also went on to say she wouldn't criticize Michelle Obama, either, for promoting healthy eating. Her point, refreshingly non-judgmental in this political climate, was that people have different views, and that's OK. "God made us our own individuals," she told Smith.

Perry's comments, and her husband's response, are a kind of metaphor for the debate over reproductive rights in Texas. To many, the fight hasn't been just about eroding abortion rights, or about cutting family planning.

It's about women having a voice, a say, in the male-dominated Legislature over policy that affects our bodies. That's what made Davis' filibuster, and the voices of the female-dominated crowd that ensured its success, so profound.

and finally the terrific concluding sentences from Lisa Falkenberg
Anita Perry's only misstep, if you can call it that, is that she answered a controversial question as a strong Texas woman, not as a politician's wife, not as a mindless mouthpiece.

Her husband's mistake is that he didn't listen.

That's all I feel comfortable quoting from Lisa Falkenberg's column without skating too close to the edge of fair use. To Houston Chronicle subscribers who can get behind the paywall, please read the full article. To all others, look and see how different the version in Bloomberg (and the free Houston Chronicle article based on it) is compared to Lisa Falkenberg's column (or the portions I've used). There's a big difference between the two! And as Paul Harvey would say, "That's the rest of the story."

My thanks to denig for the comment below also containing a link to a Washington Post article on this same topic. Plus this Washington Post article also contains the video of the actual Anita Perry interview by Evan Smith at the Texas Tribune Festival last weekend--interesting indeed.

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