There's no denying Rick Perry as a colorful character in the GOP primary. But does he fancy himself a provocateur? New York Times writer Jackie Calmes thinks so. In an article about the effort by both Republicans Democrats to take on entitlement and welfare programs, Calmes writes:
In the presidential race, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, the Republican front-runner of the moment, took the debate over entitlements to a level never before seen from a major candidate, calling for the end of all three programs as currently structured.
It is far from clear whether the comments from Mr. Perry, a self-proclaimed provocateur, will speed or stall early moves between the White House and Congress to deal with the costly benefit programs at the heart of the debt problem.
Throughout his campaign, Perry certainly has used vibrant language (most recently, he called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme"). But we couldn't recall a time he referred to himself as intentionally provocative.
We asked Calmes if she could point us to an instance where he did. In an email, she told THE BLAZE to check a comment Perry made during Wednesday night's debate "in which he said he likes to be provocative and the country needs more of it." Here's the moment she's referring to:
"[...] And regardless of what anyone says [about Social Security being a Ponzi scheme], 'Oh, it's not and that's provocative language,' maybe it's time to have some provocative language in this country and say things like 'let's get America working again and do whatever it takes to make that happen.'
That's not quite the same as saying he likes to be provocative. And, on a smaller scale of difference, he also said "maybe it's time to have some," not "the country needs more of it." What do you think? Is Perry intentionally provocative? Or did Calmes get it wrong?