Conservatives have long criticized Mitt Romney for implementing an individual mandate in Massachusetts and have suspiciously eyed Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman for flirting with similar proposals in the past. Well, now right-wing activists still learning about Rick Perry’s record may have new reason to worry about the Texas governor’s purity on the health care issue. The Daily Caller has dug up old reports of a 1993 letter then-Agricultural Commissioner Perry sent to First Lady Hillary Clinton, commending her efforts to reform the health care system and asking the administration health task force in charge of drafting the bill to take the needs of Texas farmers into consideration:
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 letter first surfaced in 2005, when Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s (R) unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign attempted to use it against Perry. Watch the ad:
Perry has since condemned Clinton’s failed reform as “a government-run, one-size-fits-all health system” — the very same rhetoric he employs against President Obama’s very different (and and likely more conservative) law.