October 25, 2014

Rick Perry says new glasses a medical necessity, not a fashion statement

Texas Governor Rick Perry — ridiculed by some commentators for wearing eye glasses to look smarter — said today he chose eyewear over eye surgery.

“An accident as a young man is manifesting itself in my vision finally,” Perry said.

News stories and blog posts over the past several months have suggested Perry’s new, black-rimmed glasses are a consultant’s attempt at a make-over, but Perry said his wife is his stylist.

“I give the credit to my wife,” Perry said. “She picked out the frames and I’m learning to wear them.”

Perry said when he was 17, a friend threw a rock that hit Perry squarely in the eye. Perry was immobilized for a week as the blood drained from his eye, but once the swelling went down, Perry’s eyesight was fine. A few years later Perry even passed the rigorous eyesight testing required for Air Force pilots. But Perry said in 2012 he noticed the straight line of a vent in his Austin office didn’t appear straight when he looked at with his left eye. An eye doctor diagnosed the problem with Perry’s cornea and Perry said the eye glasses improve his vision significantly.

Perry is on a two-day swing through Iowa and he made his comments during today’s taping of the “Iowa Press” program that airs Friday night on Iowa Public Television. Perry, the longest serving governor in Texas history, predicted the country’s immigration debate will change significantly in the next 24 months, as many recent immigrants will go back to Mexico for jobs in that country’s emerging energy industry.

“What’s going to happen is a lot of Mexicans who came up here for work are going to be going back to Mexico because the jobs are going to be better,” Perry said. “They’re going to be closer to home, and so I think it’s going to greatly change the whole immigration dynamic.”

Perry stressed that border security must still be a priority, however.

“No matter what happens in the world, we need to have the federal government addressing their responsibility of securing the border because a lot of the individuals that are using our border to penetrate the United States are not coming up here to work,” Perry said. “They’re coming up here with ill intent in mind.”

And Perry said that means the nation’s primary immigration problem then will be with “O-T-Ms” — “Other than Mexicans.”

Perry plans to meet with some of Governor Branstad’s campaign staff and volunteers tonight. He’s scheduled to be in Davenport Friday to meet with a group of business owners.

Perry, who has been governor of Texas since December of 2000, announced last year that he would not seek reelection. Perry told reporters today he plans to help other Republican governors who are on the ballot in 2014.  As for 2016, Perry said it is “way too early” to discuss whether he’ll seek the GOP’s presidential nomination again.

“Check me in December of this year when we get 2014 behind us,” Perry said. “Then we’ll be more interested in 2016.”