CNN's Jim Acosta asked Rick Perry Wednesday if he was "a tad overconfident" for stumping in a battleground state like Virginia so early in the campaign season. Perry, a leading Republican presidential candidate, delivered a speech at Liberty University earlier in the day.
"It seems as if you're already looking past the primaries and into the general election," CNN's political correspondent posed to the candidate. "Aren't you being a tad overconfident?" he obnoxiously added.
[Video below the break. For audio, click here.]
Acosta, ironically, was easier on terrorist suspect Faisal Shahzad – the suspect in the failed Times Square bombing plot – than he was on Perry. Back in May of 2010, during coverage following the failed plot, he mused that Shahzad's family house going into foreclosure the year before brought "pressure" and "heartache" for the family. Acosta added that it "must have been extremely difficult for him [Shahzad]."
During Thursday's segment, the CNN correspondent pointed out that the Liberty University appearance meant that Perry was "starting to act like a front-runner." Then after describing Perry thus, he questioned his motives campaigning in a battleground state – a strange question, since that is what leading candidates do.
After Perry responded to his question, Acosta remarked that "what's interesting about that comment, Kyra, is we're asking him shouldn't you be paying more attention to your other rivals in the GOP field? And he takes that question and pivots back to the President, which is what front-runners do."
A transcript of the segment, which aired on September 15 at 10:58 a.m. EDT, is as follows:
KYRA PHILLIPS: Well it looks like our Jim Acosta had a chance to talk with GOP frontrunner Rick Perry. I'm sure that was quite interesting, Jim?
JIM ACOSTA: Yeah, you know it's a sign, Kyra, that he is starting to act like a front-runner, that he's not so worried about something blowing up in his face and hurting him in the polls. He went to Virginia yesterday, which is not a terribly important primary state, but it is a battleground state in the general election. And after he gave a speech to an audience of Virginia Republicans, he took some questions.
And so we thought we'd ask him are you feeling a little overconfident these days when you're campaigning in places like Virginia? And here's what he had to say.
ACOSTA: (on-camera) It seems as if you're already looking past the primaries and into the general election. Aren't you being a tad overconfident?
RICK PERRY, Republican presidential candidate: I understand who the opposition is in this election cycle, and there are seven other individuals on that stage who are quite capable. But the fact of the matter is, my focus – and I think, as our focus all should be – is on the problem that's facing America today. And that is an administration that is trying to spend our way to prosperity.
(End Video Clip)
ACOSTA: And, you know what's interesting about that comment, Kyra, is we're asking him shouldn't you be paying more attention to your other rivals in the GOP field? And he takes that question and pivots back to the President, which is what front-runners do. And I should mention, he is in Iowa today, so he is keeping an eye on his right flank.