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Rick Perry Has No Problem Challenging Nancy Pelosi

11/17/2011 08:47 PM ET

Perry Pelosi - Texas governor Rick Perry had sent a letter to top Democrat Nancy Pelosi, challenging her to a debate next week over his “Overhaul Washington” plan that calls for a part-time Congress of citizen-legislators. The move was straight out of the conservative playbook.

Being down in the polls and mocked by late-night comedians, Perry picked a fight with Pelosi, the bete noire of the American Right. At her weekly news conference Thursday, she couldn’t resist riffing on him about his epic debate gaffe from last week.

She suggested she couldn’t debate the Governor of Texas on Monday because her schedule was booked with three events that day — an event in Portland, a tour of labs in California and “that’s two. I can’t remember what the third thing is.”

In the letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives first obtained by The Hill newspaper, Rick said he was responding to criticism from her lieutenant in the House, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland. Hoyer this week accused Rick of “pandering to the tea party” and said it was not a “serious effort.” He contended that America has big-time problems and needs a full-time Congress on the job.

The head of the executive branch of Texas’s government fired back in his missive, asking Pelosi a series of leading questions such as: “Is it so important for the Washington power brokers to build their fiefdoms of influence, including providing bailouts to Wall Street while business on Main Street are being boarded up every day?” (Yes? No?)

Rick gave a speech this week in Iowa outlining his plan in which he would seek to not only diminish the power of Congress but also limit the terms of Supreme Court justices. (He said nothing, interestingly, about reducing the scale of the presidency.)

“It’s time to create a part-time Congress where their pay is cut in half, their office budgets are cut in half, and their time in Washington is cut in half,” Perry said Tuesday in his speech in Bettendorf, Iowa.

The big problem with his plan is that the president doesn’t have the power to limit the terms or salaries of Congress or for that matter, the terms of high court justices who hold lifetime tenure.

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