CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Explaining that he's "not a lawyer," Rick Perry on Wednesday said he was unfamiliar with the anti-sodomy case Lawrence v. Texas litigated in part during his time as governor of Texas.
Perry responded to a question about the case, which struck down laws against sodomy in Texas as unconstitutional, with a soliloquy on the dangers of spending; Perry later admitted to reporters that he was unfamiliar with the case.
"And I wish I could tell you I know every Supreme Court case, I don't," Perry said when a voter in Cedar Rapids asked him about the landmark 2003 case that struck down a law criminalizing homosexual activity. "I'm not a lawyer, but here's what I do know: I know they're spending too much money in DC and $15 trillion worth of debt is on the back of that young man right there. And if we don't go in and cut the size of government, court cases aren't going to make one tinker's heck."
"And we can sit here and play 'I gotcha' questions on what about this Supreme Court case or whatever," he continued. "But let me tell you, you know and I know the problem in this country is spending in Washington DC, it's not some Supreme Court case."
Asked by Ken Herman, a journalist with the Austin-American Statesman, after the event if he knew what the case was about, Perry replied "I don't. I think I explained that to him."
The 6-3 decision attracted major public attention and offered a victory for the LGBT community,
Perry appeared in a crowded coffee shop before a raucous crowd of about 200 Iowans who roared approval for Perry's shots at Washington DC "insiders" and President Barack Obama's administration.
Repeating his earlier critiqueof former Sen. Rick Santorum's record on earmarks, an animated Perry declared "I'm calling you out, senator!"
While Santorum received most of Perry's ire Wednesday, Perry also offered a concise appraisal of apparent frontrunner Mitt Romney, even after defending the former Massachussetts governor's family history as the son of a politician.
When a questioner suggested that a Romney presidency could represent a dangerous "dynasty" -- Romney's father served as Michigan governor and ran for president in 1968 -- Perry defended public service "an honorable thing."
"I'm a politician's son," he joked. "My daddy was a county commissioner." Perry also declined to take the bait on the man's suggestion that Romney was from a different "socioeconomic" background but did take the opportunity to slam Romney as inconsistent on key issues.
"I am a consistent conservative. I've always been pro-life. I have always been pro-traditional marriage. I have always been a fiscal conservative. I have never been for global warming. Yeah, me and Mitt are different."