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Gov. Perry challenges Pelosi to a debate

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has challenged the women conservatives love to hate — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — to a public debate next week.

In a letter obtained by The Hill, Perry requested that the pair meet for a debate during Perry’s visit to Washington next week to compare the plan he rolled out this week to “Uproot and Overhaul Washington” with the current system.

“I think it would be a tremendous service to the American public to see a public airing of those differences,” he wrote. “Let the people decide.”

Perry’s challenge comes just days after his roll out of his plan to reform Washington. A central piece of his plan is a part-time Congress with half the salary and office budgets.

“After increasing the debt by $4 trillion in less than three years no one can truly believe that Americans are satisfied with business as usual, and that a permanent political class in Washington can get us out of the mess you and your colleagues have created,” Perry wrote.

In his letter he pushed Pelosi to give her opinion of his plan, noting that Maryland Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer was not a fan, as Hoyer made clear Tuesday.

“If this is what he thinks is pandering to the tea party, it is not, in my opinion, speaking to the issues that the American public feels are very, very critical to them — jobs being the number one issue,” Hoyer said. “So I don’t think it’s a very serious effort on his part.”

According to Perry — who is painting himself as the quintessential Washington outsider — the central question for Pelosi is, “Do you believe Washington is broken.”

Perry added that if next week, when he is in Washington for a Republican debate on foreign policy, does not work for Pelosi, he would be more than happy to find time in Iowa sometime next month.

“Should you choose not to respond or engage in such a healthy discussion, I will take it to mean you will continue your obstructionist ways in the face of much needed Washington reform,” he wrote.

The Texas governor has been struggling in the polls in recent weeks and a series of flubs have not helped his campaign’s fortunes. Perhaps a rumble with conservatives’ favorite villain will help to reverse Perry’s current polling trends.

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told The Daily Caller that the minority leader would address the challenge in her weekly press conference Thursday morning.

Update: At her Thursday press conference, Pelosi said that her schedule would not allow for a Monday debate with Perry as she will be travelling on the west coast. She did not say whether she would be able or willing to debate another day.

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