At Tuesday’s Washington Post-Bloomberg News debate, Rick Perry was asked about his support in 1988 for then-Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore.

The Texas governor, who was then a Democrat but soon switched to become a Republican, pointed out that Ronald Reagan made that same party switch later in his life than Perry.

“I, like most people in the state of Texas and those Southern states, grew up a Democrat,” Perry said.

Perry also defended his spending in Texas, saying the state’s debt, per person, is the second lowest in the country.

Watch the video after the jump.