In an interview with conservative outlet Newsmax, Perry walked back his remark that critics of instate college tuition for illegal immigrants in Texas didn’t “have a heart,” calling it “over-passionate” and “inappropriate.” The comment had really rankled quite a few conservatives, who, even if some of them were willing to give him a pass on the policy, weren’t thrilled about being called emotionless monsters on a Republican debate stage.
Perry hasn’t changed his mind on the merits of the program — he’s still using a states’ rights defense, which you can hear at around the six-minute mark in the video above — but he seems more willing to concede points to conservative critics than his chief rival and fellow heretic Mitt Romney. Again, Perry hasn’t actually backed off much on the substance of his primary heresies — the immigrant tuition issue and his decision to mandate the HPV vaccine for teenage girls — but he’s now toned down the rhetoric on the former and ceded that an executive order was the wrong way to go about the latter. Romney, meanwhile, has had little ground to give on the main blasphemous mark on his record, the health reform plan he enacted in in Massachusetts that served as a model for Obama’s national overhaul, or his rigorous defense of its merits. Of course, he did write a book called No Apology….