Anita Thigpen Perry, the former nurse turned wife of the Texas governor, revealed her support of the controversial HPV vaccine mandate issued by Rick Perry in 2007, but voiced frustration with how he arrived at the decision, saying, “I wish he had talked to me first.”
“I thought he handled it the wrong way,” Anita said in an interview with Parade Magazine. “I’m pro-immunization. I would have supported the vaccine. I do not sees it as an opening for sexual promiscuity in any way. I see it as another immunization.”
In a campaign she described as “ugly,” “unkind and unfair,” Anita lauded her husband for saying he made a mistake, and she argued it’s an admission of guilt she doesn’t “know how many other men would admit.”
“It’s already ugly,” she told Parade Magazine with laughter. “It’s so unkind and unfair because you know what? All we want to do is serve our country, fight for freedom, and bring back America, the greatest country in the world.”
The Perry couples’ relationship dates back to to their childhood in Paint Creek, Texas, where they met at an elementary school piano recital and have since developed nicknames for each other – “Ricky” and “Nita,” which Rick Perry has used often on the campaign trail.
Anita, an advocate for sexual assault victims in Texas, has not decided what cause she would adopt as first lady though she shared her concern for the military and health care, which her husband has touted on the campaign trail.
“That’s my wife,” Rick Perry said as he introduced her at McCarthy and Bailey’s Irish Pub in Sioux City last weekend. “She’s truly been one of my best friend, my great advocate, former nurse and understands the challenges of healthcare across this country and what Obamacare will do to the great profession and getting between the doctor and the patients of this country.”
The Texas first lady, who has witnessed her husband stumble in several presidential debates, said she never wishes she could put words in his mouth because his intentions are always in the right place.
“He always says the right thing,” Anita said. “Well, most of the time. Whether he says it in a way that you or I want to hear.”