FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Rick Perry would have us believe he's a country boy at heart, a down-home cowboy who can relate to the plight of ordinary Americans.
But there's another side to the Texas governor.
Politico reports that for years, Perry – who makes $150,000 a year as governor – has enjoyed additional lavish perks and travel, mostly funded by wealthy supporters.
Texas donors have paid for the governor and his family to travel around the world, sometimes on private jets; stay in luxury hotels and resorts; vacation in Colorado ski towns; and attend tons of sporting events and concerts.
Perry has also accepted a wide range of expensive gifts over the years, including 22 pairs of cowboy boots, some costing more than $500 a pop. Somebody even pays his cable TV bill.
Also, the taxpayers are paying the rent, at $8,500 a month, for Perry's 4,600-square-foot Austin mansion. The governor and his family have been living in the five-bedroom, seven-bath mansion since 2007 while the governor's mansion undergoes repair. Four years? What kind of repairs are those?
But it's all copacetic in the Lone Star State, which has some of the loosest ethics and campaign rules in the country.
Nonetheless, it's hard to imagine that supporters aren't buying influence when they lavish all these perks on the governor.
Some donors have wound up with appointments to state commissions or million-dollar state grants to businesses they're involved in.
Perry's camp insists that this is all on the up and up. A spokeswoman tells Politico that the governor fully discloses all gifts and travel in his financial disclosure statements.
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
George in Michigan:
Just another ego at work. I long for the "what you see is what you get" type, but Mr. Perry is too slippery to qualify. Where is Harry Truman when we really need him? Perhaps he has come back as Ron Paul.
James in Texas City, Texas:
As someone who has followed pistol packing Perry throughout his career, I can tell you quite honestly that this buffoon is a card carrying, full-blown fraudster. He actually makes 'W' look good, well, almost. And remember, the governor of Texas has much less power and authority than most governors. Having lived here for 15 years and originally from California, I would venture the collective IQ of this state is only slightly above a carrot.
Joy on Facebook:
Another fake cowboy from Texas...just what the country needs!
Michael in Alexandria, Virginia:
Die-hard Perry supporters (like rich people and his funders) like politicians who stay bought. This won't hurt him at all. Indeed, news stories like this will be evidence of persecution by the Main Stream Media – so they may work in his favor.
Ask people from his hometown in Texas. They pretty much think he's a fraud. Even his former Boy Scout leader says he wouldn't vote for the guy.
Greg in Arkansas:
The perception is that Rick Perry is a "Southern Gentleman" sipping ice tea on the front porch, but in reality, there is a whole lot of suffering going on behind the barn. Voters need to beware, look deep at this man and his record because the "front porch" just ain't big enough for everyone.
Billie in Texas:
Texans would elect a prairie dog if you hung a 'Republican' label on it.
Sure it does, Jack. What's wrong with being a rich cowboy? Let me tell you that it is much better than being a poor cowboy.