In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Rick Perry Defends Early Praise For Clinton Health Care Plan

Newscom / Olivier Douliery

In an interview with Sean Hannity on Tuesday, Perry said that he only backed Clinton's "admirable goal" of reform because the administration had yet to produce its final plan.

"The fact that they came up with this monstrosity of a bill was really -- I had no idea that that was going to be the end product," he said. "What I thought they were truly going to work toward was trying to reform health care."

As Perry explained to Hannity, there's nothing particularly odd about an agricultural commissioner trying to advocate for farmers in federal legislation. But the timing on his claim that he had no idea what was coming on health care is a little cute: news reports at the time of his April 1993 letter already included broad details of the Clinton plan even though the task force had yet to formally complete its work.

The New York Times ran a lengthy A1 piece "The Health Agenda: 6 Weeks and Counting -- A Status Report" on March 23, 1993, for example, that went over administration discussions on an employer mandate requiring businesses to provide coverage to workers, on possible taxes to cover an estimated $30 to $90 billion annual cost, and on the basics of their eventual proposal to shepherd Americans into large health maintenance organizations with a set of guaranteed basic benefits. First Read notes that the Los Angeles Times included a bullet point rundown with many of the eventual proposal's main planks in an article just the day before Perry sent his letter.