Sen. Hutchison says Perry's record is 'fair game'

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by REBECCA STEWART

CNN

Posted on November 6, 2011 at 10:06 PM

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on Sunday refused to walk back on stinging critiques made about Texas Gov. Rick Perry's record when the two were locked in a battle for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2010.

"I tried to give Texas a choice," Hutchison said on CNN's "State of the Union."

The four-term senator told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that "when you've been in office for a long time, you have a record and that record is fair game."

During the primary in 2010, Hutchison attacked Perry's policy on immigration as soft, and followed up during Sunday's interview by questioning Perry's home state appeal with comments on the Trans-Texas corridor, a controversial proposal that included a state-wide system of highways, railways, and utility lines.

"I think if you ask Texans about this race it's more mixed that it was, for instance, when George W. Bush was running," she said. "The Trans-Texas corridor was something I'd talked about and it was running over private property... "I think that's sticking [with some people in Texas]."

But she qualified her criticism of Perry during the Texas gubernatorial campaign, saying Sunday that "he was very brutal on my record and I tried to be tough on his."

Of Herman Cain, one of Perry's rivals for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Hutchison chalked up attention this week to alleged sexual harassment in Cain's past as "politics as usual."

"I just don't see anonymous sources as fair against a candidate," she said of reports that at least two women have accused Cain of sexual harassment during his stint as head of the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s.

"I think if someone has a real concern they should come out and say it, but nothing I've heard in the press that I've read is nothing more than off-color remarks," Hutchison said.

And the senator who will retire at the end of her term next year believes that Cain "paid a price" for those remarks, "as maybe he should."

Hutchison asserted, "I kind of think this is a presidential campaign thing where his opponents are coming forward and trying to drudge things up."

According to Cain, Perry is just that opponent.

The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza accused the Perry campaign of leaking the allegations of sexual harassment against him, a charge that Perry vehemently denied.

Former GOP Virginia Rep. Tom Davis had a different view of Cain in a separate interview Sunday. Saying: "He was the flavor of the month. His month is up."

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