Rick Perry

Rick Perry

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Rick Perry is an American conservative politician and the 47th governor of Texas where he is currently the incumbent. In 2011, Perry ran for the Republican nomination in the 2012 United States presidential election.

Political Career

In 1984, Perry was elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat. In 1988, Perry supported nominee Al Gore in the Democratic presidential primary and worked on his campaign in Texas. The following year, Perry announced his switch to the Republican political party. In 1990, Perry defeated incumbent Democrat Jim Hightower for the position of Agriculture Commissioner. In 1998, Perry ran for Lieutenant Governor and defeated Democrat John Sharp. During the campaign, Perry was rumored to falling out with political strategist Karl Rove. On December 21st, 2000, Perry replaced George W. Bush as governor after Bush resigned to become President of the United States.

Online History

On December 13th, 2007, Perry launched his official Facebook[1] page, gathering upwards of one million likes over the next seven years. In January 2009, the @GovernorPerry[2] Twitter feed was created, which accumulated more than 245,000 followers within six years. On September 18th, 2011, the Bad Lip Reading YouTube channel uploaded a montage of Rick Perry clips with absurd dialogue dubbed in sync with Perry’s mouth movements (shown below). In the first three years, the video gained over 5.01 million views and 4,200 comments.

Debate Gaffe

During the nationally televised ninth Republican Party presidential debate, Perry had a momentary lapse of memory when trying to name the three federal government agencies he would seek to eliminate if elected president (shown below). The on-air blunder was met by humorous commentaries in the news and social media, as well as a series of musical remixes and parody videos on YouTube.

“Strong” Ad

On December 6th, 2011, Rick Perry’s YouTube channel uploaded an advertisement for Perry’s 2012 Republican presidential primary campaign titled “Strong”, in which he openly proclaims his Christian background, denounces the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and vows to end Barack Obama’s “War on Religion.” The YouTube video immediately stirred a controversy in the comments section and drew criticism from the LGBT and atheist communities alike.


On August 15th, 2014, Perry was indicted for abuse of power and coercion of a public official by a Texas grand jury for vetoing $7.5 million in funding for the Public Integrity Unit, a state public corruption prosecutors department that was investigating Perry’s Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Some speculated the veto was in response to Democrat Rosemary Lehmberg’s refusal to resign as head of the department after being convicted of driving under the influence. On August 19th, Perry turned himself in to the Travis County courthouse in Austin, where he was fingerprinted and posed for a mug shot (shown below).

The same day, Twitter user @xor[6] tweeted the mugshot photo with a pair of Warby Parker glasses superimposed over Perry’s face. In the first 24 hours, the tweet gained over 1,800 retweets and 1,500 favorites.

That day, other Twitter users posted additional photoshopped versions of the mugshot, with notable examples highlighted on The Daily Dot,[3] Storfiy[4] and Twitchy.[5]

Unauthorized Meme

On August 31st, 2014, Perry’s official Twitter account sent out a tweet[7] which featured a photoshopped image of a Dos Equis beer advertisement with the head of Rosemary Lehmberg, the District Attorney for Travis Country, with text which played off the format of the ads and made fun of Lehmberg’s arrest for drunk driving, an offense she committed in April of 2013. Though the account quickly removed the image, journalist Matt Pearce[8] tweeted out a screengrab of the tweet the same day.

Perry then tweeted out an apology for the image, explaining it had been unauthorized.

Perry has been charged with “abuse of power” after threatening to keep money from Lehmberg’s department if she refused to resign from her post following the her drunk driving incident.The retracted tweet was covered by several news sites the following day including The New York Post[9], TIME[10] and the Washington Post.[11]

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