WAVERLY, Iowa – Iowa voters pride themselves on probing candidates with in-depth questions on policy or their positions on social issues, but one Iowa caucus goer on Friday had a simple question for Texas Gov. Rick Perry: Where are your cowboy boots?
“They’re out there on the bus,” Perry said, referring to his cowboy boots as the crowd at the restaurant Fainting Goat laughed.
“These are Ropers … sans the tops,” Perry said, pointing to the Justin Roper work boots he was wearing. “You’ll notice how thick the bottoms of those are. You might notice that it’s snowing out there too, and I like that extra cushion and insulation underneath the bottom of my feet, and those leather bottom boots, they get a little slick and they get a little cold, so I’ve learned a few things while in Iowa.”
The Texas governor, known for his brown ostrich boots that bear the words “liberty” and “freedom,” words he had emblazoned on them in honor of those that died on 9/11, has seldom worn his cowboy boots on the campaign trail, opting instead to wear his comfortable black Justin Roper boots, which sell for around $70.
ABC News last saw Perry wear his cowboy boots on Dec. 2, when he walked onto the set of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno while the song “Deep in the Heart of Texas” played.
Perry donned his cowboy boots during the November CNBC debate when he had his now famous “oops moment,” forgetting the third department he would eliminate if he becomes president.
“Speaking of boots, I’m glad I had my boots on tonight because I sure stepped in it out there,” Perry joked with reporters in the spin room after his debate gaffe.
The Texas governor wore his cowboy boots when he bounded onto the stage announcing his presidential bid in Charleston, S.C., on Aug 13.
Though they are not seen often on the campaign trail, Perry told ABC News two weeks ago that he still wears those 10-year-old boots, admitting “they have been re-soled a few times.” One coffee shop in Clear Lake, Iowa, named a blend of coffee after the boots.
Perry’s son, Griffin, sometimes wears a pair of his father’s hand-me-down Luchesse boots made of ostrich and cow.
Simon Conway, a WHO radio host who said on Friday that he’d vote for Perry, joked that along with Perry’s executive experience, the final factor influencing his decision to support Perry was that he was able to get “boot advice from the governor of Texas.”
While walking through DeWitt last week, Perry ran into an Iowa state lawmaker wearing the same style of Justin Roper shoes as he was, but in a different color. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who accompanied Perry for two days on his bus tour through Iowa, wore brown cowboy boots.