Rick Perry, Great White Hunter: How Does He Stack Up?

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Rick Perry is getting a lot of Internet play today for manfully admitting to the Associated Press that he used a laser-sighted pistol with hollow-point bullets to kill a coyote that was threatening his dog while he was out jogging.

Take that, dog predator. You should have known our governor never jogs without a solid piece of shooting iron.

Taking out a coyote with space-age technology is pretty good -- Kay Bailey Hutchison would have probably just hit it with a binder -- but how does it stack up with other political animal-killin'?

Let's examine.

Jimmy Carter and the Killer Rabbit

By 1979, Jimmy Carter had already alienated much of America with his whiny self-righteousness and prim demeanor. As he geared up for a re-election campaign, his desperate fight to the death -- with a rabbit -- didn't help his image.

Carter said he beat back the attacking rabbit with a paddle, although he later changed that story when animal advocates complained, saying he'd merely used the paddle to splash water on the fearsome creature.

Advantage: Perry. Unless Carter used a laser-sighted paddle, and history is unclear on that question.

George W. Bush, Poacher

As George W. Bush began his gubernatorial race against Ann Richards in 1994 (seems like a lifetime ago), both candidates ostentatiously went out a-shootin' on the opening day of dove-hunting season. Bush borrowed a shotgun and went to Hockley and successfully bagged a bird. Unfortunately for him, it wasn't a dove, it was a killdeer, a Texas songbird protected by law. He was fined $130.

"I thought it was a dove," Bush told reporters.

It would mark the only time anyone died in relation to George W. Bush and bad intelligence, fortunately. We think.

Advantage: Perry. There was some initial belief Perry might have violated the law by discharging a firearm within Austin city limits, but his spokesman said shooting to protect his dog makes it all A-OK.

Teddy Roosevelt: Not to be Messed With

Teddy Roosevelt was to dead animals what Babe Ruth was to home runs -- in his day, there was no one close.

TR hunted bighorn elk in the Dakotas, went on safari in Africa, cruised the Amazon in an expedition that nearly killed him, and gleefully took animal life every step of the way. No friggin' laser sights, either.

Advantage: TR. If Roosevelt is Babe Ruth, Perry's an Astros shortstop.

JFK: Haunted Shooter, Allegedly


In Death of a President, for many years considered the definitive book on the Kennedy assassination, author William Manchester included an anecdote about LBJ more or less forcing JFK to go deer hunting on his Texas ranch. Manchester wrote that JFK was turned off by the experience, forever being "haunted" by the look on the doomed deer's face.

It wasn't that Kennedy was a wimp -- he'd had no trouble killing the enemy in WWII -- but shooting a deer on a ranch was too brutal for him to enjoy, Manchester wrote. (LBJ supporters dispute the tale, by the way.)

Advantage: JFK. If Kennedy had found himself eyeball-to-eyeball in a potentially bloody confrontation like coyote-vs.-Perry's-dog, the Cuban Missile Crisis teaches us he would have found a peaceful way out.

Dick Cheney: Hunting the Most Dangerous Game

`Nuff said.

Advantage: Perry. At least our governor came away with a kill. Then again, he did have that nifty laser sight.

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