As GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry appeared as a guest on Tuesday's New Day, co-anchor Alisyn Camerota challenged the former Texas governor for vetoing a Texas bill on equal pay, as she demanded, "Don't women deserve equal pay?"
As she set up the question, she conceded that Perry has an unusually large number of women working for him in top jobs:
You know, we've been asking, here at New Day we've been asking all of the candidates about their record on equity pay -- men versus women -- in terms of their gender, and how many women they have working for them.
And, at first blush, Governor, you win because, in terms of women on your staff, your -- correct me if I'm wrong -- your chief-of-staff a woman, your deputy chief-of-staff a woman, director of communications a woman, press secretary a woman, human resources director a woman, head of scheduling, all women. I could go on.
Instead of posing a question with a more neutral choice of words such as, "Why did you oppose this bill?" she instead hinted that opposing the bill could mean a belief that women do not "deserve" equal pay, as the CNN host queried: "Don't women deserve equal pay?"
Former Governor Perry argued that the bill he vetoed would have created a redundant law:
Well, women get equal pay. I mean, that's the point. This was a piece of legislation that basically duplicates what's at the federal level. In the state of Texas, we think it's kind of wise not to have too many laws on the books. And I told them early on in that process that, "Listen, we, this was a symbolic piece of legislation. We don't need symbolic pieces of legislation jumbling up our code." And I told them, I said, "I'm going to veto this piece of legislation."
Let's look at the record. There are over a million women that had jobs in the state of Texas while I was the governor of the state. People know that our commitment is to the people of the state of Texas. Women have the opportunity to excel. When you look at the record, the first Latina that was on the supreme court. I appointed the first Latina to be the secretary of state of Texas.
I mean, the record is unparalleled from the standpoint of women in the state of Texas. And it will be that way as the President of the United States. What people really care about is, "Give me the opportunity to succeed. I'll take care of it after that."
Camerota was then surprised to learn that Governor Perry's chief-of-staff had earned a higher salary than the governor she worked for:
CAMEROTA: So do you pay all of the women on your staff the same as their male counterparts?
PERRY: Well, I would suggest to you, when you're the chief-of-staff, you make more money than the governor, so-
CAMEROTA :Is that right?
PERRY: -my chief-of-staff-
CAMEROTA: Your chief-of-staff makes more money than the governor?
PERRY: Oh, yes, mam.
CAMEROTA: Why is that?
PERRY: Indeed. Well, that's just the way that the system was set up. The governorship of the state of Texas was limited to a certain amount of money, and I wanted to go get the best and the brightest, and you need to pay the best and the brightest, and I think that's the way -- that's the way you do it. Makes sense. I mean, that's the way the real world works, and government needs to be more like the real world. And that's one of the reasons I want to go to Washington, D.C., and reform that place because it is absolutely corrupt and broken.