Republican voters at Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate expressed their approval of the death penalty by giving Gov. Rick Perry’s record on executions some of the loudest applause of the night.
“Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times,” NBC’s Brian Williams told Perry as the conservative audience broke into cheers and applause. “Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?”
“No, sir, I’ve never struggled with that at all,” Perry flatly stated. “In the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you’re involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas, and that is you will be executed.”
The audience again cheered at Perry’s mention of “the ultimate justice.”
“What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here, the mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?” Williams asked.
“I think Americans understand justice,” Perry explained. “I think Americans are clearly in the vast majority of cases, supportive of capital punishment. When you have committed heinous crimes against our citizens, and it’s a state-by-state issue, but in the state of Texas, our citizens have made that decision, and they made it clear, and they don’t want you to commit those crimes against our citizens, and if you do, you will face the ultimate justice.”
Watch this video from MSNBC’s Republican Presidential Debate, broadcast Sept. 7, 2011.