Thursday night on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow took on Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)’s attempt to slam state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) by using her former status as an unwed mother against her. Davis went on a 13-hour filibuster at the state capitol in Austin this week to prevent Republicans from passing a draconian law virtually outlawing abortion in the state and reducing the state’s number of abortion-providing clinics to five.
Perry has been governor of Texas for 13 years. Many people say that when his current term is up, the governor will decline to run for his office again, but instead will focus his sights on another presidential run.
“And who knows?” Maddow said. “Maybe he’ll do great this time.”
On paper, Maddow said, Perry is a great candidate. “The problem is that the election isn’t on paper. There’s the talking.”
Perry’s 2012 run was marred by a series of bone-headed misstatements and unforced errors, including his notorious “Oops!” gaffe in the Republican primary debates when he couldn’t remember what three agencies of the government he would eviscerate on his first day in office as president.
Maddow played a clip from a 2010 interview at the studios of KRLU radio in which the Texas governor crashed and burned when asked a question about the inefficacy of abstinence-only education. A question asked the governor to explain how abstinence-only education is working for Texas, given that under the Perry administration, Texas rose up to the nation’s third highest position on teen pregnancy rates.
When pressed, the governor stammered out, “I’m sorry, I’m just going to tell you…from my own personal life, abstinence works.” said Perry. “If the point is…we’re going to stand up here and say, ‘Y’all go have sex and have the whatever is going on…and here’s the ways to have safe sex.’ I’m sorry; call me old-fashioned if you want, but that’s not what I’m going to stand up in front of the people in the state of Texas and say, ‘That’s the way we need to go, and forget about abstinence.'”
“Texas Gov. Rick Perry talking about sex in public,” Maddow said, “never goes well. And today he turned those bright lights of his” toward Texas state Senator Wendy Davis.
“And that really did not go well,” she continued.
She noted that “about 15 hours after Davis declared her intention to run for statewide office,” Gov. Perry went on the attack.
Perry commented on the Davis filibuster from the podium at the National Right to Life Convention in Dallas. In his remarks, the governor said that Wendy Davis “was the daughter of a single woman. She was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate. It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.”
Later that day on Dallas radio, he said, “She didn’t come from particularly good circumstances. What if her mom had said, you know, ‘I just can’t do this, I don’t want to do this’ at that particular point in time? I think it becomes very personal.”
Maddow said that Davis must be very glad that the governor was kind enough to “mansplain” her own circumstances to her and how grateful she must be that her mother didn’t abort her.
“You got that, Senator Davis?” Maddow asked. “About your own life and what you need to learn from it? Isn’t it nice that you managed to get through law school?”
Davis, for her part, wasted few words reacting to Perry’s attack, saying, “I would just say that it really demeans the office that he holds to make a personal statement like that.”
Watch the clips, embedded below via MSNBC: