Rick Perry pulled a Michele Bachmann on Tuesday, passionately condemning a policy that does not actually exist.
This time round it was over farming issues. “If you’re a tractor driver, if you drive your tractor across a public road, you’re gonna have to have a commercial driver’s license. Now how idiotic is that?” perry told a Des Moines crowd. “What were they thinking?”
As it turns out, Perry’s claim is based off a false rumor that was circulating among farmers that the Department of Transportation recently put to rest. The Wall Street Journal reports that the confusion was over a federal review of a proposal by Illinois to require commercial licenses for farmers, but the DOT ultimately concluded — as Perry did — that “the common sense exemptions that allow farmers, their employers, and their families to accomplish their day-to-day work and transport their products to market” should not be tampered with by states.
“We have no intention of instituting onerous regulations on the hardworking farmers who feed our country and fuel our economy,” DOT Secretary Ray LaHood’s said in a statement responding to Perry’s claim.
Perry told the Des Moines Register that he had discussed the issue with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in Waterloo this week.
“Your own United States senator, sitting there at the table, said, ‘That’s right.’ And I said, ‘What were they thinking, senator?’ And he said, ‘They weren’t.’ So that is the issue at hand here,” Perry said.
Grassley’s aides told the Register that the Senator had put out an electronic newsletter on the issue last week — informing constituents of the DOT’s decision not to recommend the regulation.
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Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.