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Did Rick Perry Praise HillaryCare?

3:00 PM, Aug 30, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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The Daily Caller reports that Rick Perry's opposition to liberal health care reform wasn't always so pronounced. In 1993, he wrote a letter commending her health care reform efforts:

In a letter to Clinton, who is now U.S. Secretary of State, Perry wrote: “I think your efforts in trying to reform the nation’s health care system are most commendable.”

“I would like to request that the task force give particular consideration to the needs of the nation’s farmers, ranchers, and agriculture workers, and other members of rural communities,” Perry continued, noting his administration’s focus on economic development for rural Texans. “Rural populations have a high proportion of uninsured people, rising health care costs, and often experience lack of services.”

“Again, your efforts are worthy,” Perry concluded, ”and I hope you will remember this constituency as the task force progresses.”

The existence of this letter isn't a new revelation -- it's been dogging him for eight years. It's also not exactly news that Perry switched parties in 1989, and his previous partisan incarnation supported a lot of things that would likely be anathema to the Rick Perry of today. However, Rick Perry had been a Republican for four years when this letter was written.

Here's the Perry camp's response to the Daily Caller:

“You need to read the letter,” top Perry political strategist Dave Carney told The Daily Caller. “He praised her efforts in trying to tackle the issue and urged her not to overlook rural Americans. The letter was at the onset of her efforts before she proposed anything. No one could have imagined the horrible monstrosity she cooked up, in fact not to be outdone until ObamaCare years later.”

“As Agriculture Commissioner he was concerned that rural Americans would be overlooked and their options even more limited,” Carney continued. “Working with the administration regardless of party, working with members of the other party, as long as you don’t violate your principles, is important to getting things done.”

While it doesn't definitively answer the question of whether Rick Perry wasn't done moving rightward in 1993, it is a plausible explanation. And it certainly paints Perry as a guy willing to reach across the aisle.

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