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Perry disputes hunting camp story; opponents pounce

at 10:04 AM ET, 10/02/2011

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign says a Post report that his family’s hunting camp went by a racially insensitive name is inconsistent and incorrect.

The Post’s Stephanie McCrummen reported Sunday that Perry, early in his political career, brought friends and supporters to a West Texas hunting camp his family leased that was called “Niggerhead.”


Rick Perry, candidate for agricultural commissioner, is shown Oct. 6, 1990. (AP Photo/Lee Baker) (Lee Baker - AP)
The story includes various eyewitness accounts of a rock on which the offensive word was painted. Perry’s people insist that it was painted over long ago, but visitors to the ranch— both anonymous and on-the-record — say it has been visible in more recent years.

On Sunday, Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan released a statement saying that the offensive name was obscured in the early 1980s, soon after Perry’s father, Ray, leased the rights to the property. He said Perry has not been to the property since 2006.

“A number of claims made in the story are incorrect, inconsistent, and anonymous, including the implication that Rick Perry brought groups to the lease when the word on the rock was still visible,” Sullivan said. “The one consistent fact in the story is that the word on a rock was painted over and obscured many years ago.

“Perry’s father painted over offensive language on a rock soon after leasing the 1,000-acre parcel in the early 1980s. When Governor Perry was party to the hunting lease from 1997 to 2007, the property was described as northern pasture. He has not been to the property since 2006.”

Sullivan also specified that the family has never “owned, controlled or managed” the property.

Post National Editor Kevin Merida said, "Our story was carefully reported and handled with great sensitivity. We submitted detailed written questions to the Perry campaign, and included in our story all of the points Gov. Perry wished to make. We stand by our story."

Meanwhile, Perry’s opponents in the 2012 presidential campaign began to pounce on the story, including Herman Cain, the lone African-American in the GOP race, who called the term “insensitive.”

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