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Despite Outward Similarities, PERRY AND BUSH Keep Their Distance – NYTimes.com

August 20, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and President George W. Bush at a campaign event in Dallas during the 2002 midterms.

Twang and Job Title Might Be the Same, but Perry and Bush Keep Their Distance

By ASHLEY PARKER

Published: August 19, 2011

Sharing a last name with George W. Bush has no doubt contributed to the decision by his younger brother Jeb to stay out of the Republican presidential fray. But can sharing a Texas twang with the last president hurt Gov. Rick Perry’s chances of becoming the next one?

The observation is made frequently, and with remarkable consistency: Mr. Perry sure reminds people of another governor from that state.

“You close your eyes and you say, ‘Wow, I’ve heard this movie before,’ ” said Matthew Dowd, a former strategist to Mr. Bush.

As Mr. Perry worked the room at the Bedford Village Inn after speaking Wednesday at a Politics and Eggs breakfast in New Hampshire, Andrew Smith, an associate professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire, said, “You close your eyes and you can just hear George W. Bush.”

Mr. Bush and Mr. Perry have more than a few surface-level similarities: the cowboy boots, the swagger, the same way of hunching up their necks when they give a “heh-heh” chuckle. They share an I’m-the-Decider confidence and a down-home way of speakin’ that’s heavy on the dropped g’s. (On the campaign trail last week, Mr. Perry frequently warned against “over-taxin’, over-regulatin’ and over-litigatin.’ ”).

Mr. Perry, however, is hardly a natural heir to the Texas Bush legacy or the much-maligned reputation that Mr. Bush left among both Republicans and Democrats. The blue-blooded Bush clan’s dislike of the gun-slinging, coyote-shooting son of tenant farmers runs deep — from the first President George Bush on down to the family’s political Svengali, Karl Rove, to state-level operatives — and Mr. Perry further offended Bush-world when, in recent years, he publicly criticized President George W. Bush on a number of issues, and questioned his fiscal conservatism.

via Despite Outward Similarities, Perry and Bush Keep Their Distance – NYTimes.com.

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