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Rick Perry walks back: OK, you’re not heartless after all

Responding to other candidates at last week’s Republican debate who criticized a Texas law giving college tuition breaks to children of illegal immigrants, Governor Rick Perry said (quite sensibly):

“If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.”

As The Washington Post reports:

The comment drew boos from thousands of Republican activists in the debate audience and reverberated across the GOP political landscape. Perry’s rivals have tried to use the issue as a wedge to drive between Perry and the party’s conservative base, which seeks tougher treatment of illegal immigrants.

Unsurprisingly Perry has now walked back on his statement, describing it as “inappropriate.”

“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.”

Of course Perry isn’t the only GOP candidate trying to back away from any possible connection with (shudder) liberalism, as you can see from this video produced by the Perry campaign: