Texas Gov. Rick Perry, facing a conservative backlash over his labeling as heartless those who oppose his state law giving college tuition breaks to the children of illegal immigrants, said Wednesday that the tone of his remarks was “inappropriate.”
In an on-camera interview with Newsmax.com, a conservative media outlet, Perry said he had been “over-passionate” in his answer to a question about the law during last week’s GOP presidential candidates debate.
“I probably chose a poor word to explain that,” Perry said in the interview. “For people who don’t want their state to be giving tuition to illegal aliens, illegal immigrants in this country, that’s their call, and I respect that.”
Although he walked back his remarks, Perry stood by the legislation and noted that it passed in 2001 with the support of all but four legislators in Texas.
“I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word. And it was inappropriate,” Perry said. “But here’s what I do believe: that it is a state’s sovereign right to decide that issue for themselves.”