It was another great late-night visit for another beleaguered Republican as Rick Perry got a chance to relax and state his case on a number of key issues Thursday night on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
Well, maybe “beleaguered” is too strong a word to use for Perry, whose campaign hit a few bumps when he became tongue-tied in several public appearances. Jay Leno noted the difference between Perry’s problems and those “beleaguering” fellow candidate Herman Cain, who’s been accused of sexual harassment and carrying on an extramarital affair.
“Because of Herman Cain now, you’re in the clear,” Leno told Perry, explaining why Cain’s woes are better fodder for Leno’s monologues than Perry’s lapses in memory. “Yours are gaffes,” Leno explained, “[Cain's] are Oh-my-Gods!”
Leno raised the subject of Herman Cain in the first part of his interview with Perry.
The outspoken, swaggering Texas governor got a chance to amplify several of his key ideas on the “Leno” show, including: His plan to convert Congress into a “part-time legislature” working only part of the year for a much lower salary — as legislators do in Texas; and his flat tax proposal, which is based on a 20 percent ceiling for personal income taxes across the board, plus a much simpler tax form.
“You want to see what a part-time legislature, and light tax burden and a regulatory climate that’s fair and predictable [can do], go look at the state of Texas in the last decade,” Perry said. “If we could duplicate that in America, this country’s economy would be growing and growing like crazy!”
Leno also asked the candidate about foreign policy, particularly his views on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Predictably, Perry said he disagreed with President Obama’s approach.
“What I disagree with him on completely is telegraphing to an enemy when we’re going to pull out of a country,” Perry said. “I mean, that is absolutely irresponsible and it puts our young men and women in danger, but it also tells the bad guys, you know, wait until December of this particular date and [we're] gone and you can go back in and take over.”
Chalk up another one for a Republican on a late-night show. So far, all of the candidates who have appeared recently on a late-night show — Cain, Perry and Michele Bachmann — have used their appearances effectively to polish their public images (except that Bachmann’s appearance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” was tarnished afterward when it was learned she was blind-sided by Fallon and bandleader Questlove, who played an insulting song to herald her arrival).