Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry had the tea party crowd on his side at Monday night’s debate, only to get booed when he espoused moderate-sounding positions on immigration.
Now the Texas governor is in a target of some immigration hardliners for voicing opposition to a border fence and defending a bill he signed that could help some illegal immigrants receive in-state tuition.
“If you’re working towards your college degree, and if you are working and pursuing citizenship in the state of Texas, you pay in-state tuition there,” Perry explained at the CNN/Tea Party Express debate in Tampa.
“And the bottom line is it doesn’t make any difference what the sound of your last name is. That is the American way.”
Cue the boos.
Hours later, the press releases and emails started.
"Perry was the first GOP candidate that the crowd booed tonight, and they started to boo as he rationalized his support for in-state tuition for illegal aliens," William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration Public Action Committee said in a written statement.
"We are about to see what we will call the ’Perry Plunge’ in the polls,” Gheen said, citing a survey from Rasmussen Reports that showed 81 percent of Americans oppose tuition subsidies for illegal immigrants.