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In Iowa, Anita Perry defends her husband

DES MOINES, IA - The wife of Texas Governor Rick Perry defended her husband's immigration record during a stop here on Tuesday night meant to boost the presidential hopeful's campaign.

Anita Perry stumped for her husband in several stops yesterday in Iowa, where she characterized her husband as the best-suited candidate to match up against President Obama next fall, and promised improved performances in the next GOP debate.

“Some have attacked Rick on this issue of immigration, so I want you to be armed with the facts,” Mrs. Perry said, speaking to dozens of attendees at a Polk County GOP central committee meeting in Clive.

“No one has done more to secure the border. And as president, he is committed to stopping the tide of illegal immigration,” she continued after noting that husband vetoed a bill to give illegal immigrants driver licenses, fought illegal sanctuaries, and billed the government for incarcerating illegal aliens. Mrs. Perry also said in-state tuition is only offered to residents who have gone to school in Texas for three years and have earned a high-school degree.

The first lady of Texas was asked after the event to clarify her comments on the latest debate saying that her husband is not “polished” like some 2012 candidates.

“Gov. Romney has been running for president for four or five years, and that was my husband’s third debate,” she told reporters. “I think [Perry] would tell you that the other night was not his best performance. But he is only going to get better, and I think part of the attacks had something to do with it. I think when you have seven arrows being shot at you -- and you are the one person in the middle -- a 30-second rebuttal doesn’t give you much time.”

Mrs. Perry also spoke at the opening of the campaign’s Iowa headquarters in West Des Moines earlier in the evening, where she citing her husband’s determination.

“He’s the most determined candidate that I know. And when the chips get down, he’s at his best because he’s a fighter. And that’s why we’re in this race,” she said during a brief speech to a handful of supporters at the opening. "When Rick sees so many people struggling, it breaks his heart -- but steels his resolve.”

Mrs. Perry is confident in the performance Gov. Perry will have in the next debate on Oct. 11. "He's going to be better prepared this time," she assured those in Iowa. "I think he is only one who can go toe to toe with Obama."

This post was updated at 1:08 p.m. to include new quotes.