Rick Perry keeps falling for urban legends

In August, Rick Perry complained about a new regulation that would require farmers to get commercial drivers licenses if they drive their tractors across the road. It’s a common urban legend in GOP circles, but it’s not true.

In September, Perry complained that President Obama gave Brazil $2 billion to help with their offshore drilling projects. A right-wing chain email has made the rounds making this claim, but it’s demonstrably false, too.

And now it’s happened again.

Satire may not be Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s thing.

Last Friday, at the swanky Barley House tavern in Concord, N.H., Mr. Perry took a little jab at the Occupy Wall Street crowd, referencing an amusing quote his son had sent him from a protester occupying Toronto.

“I don’t know if it can be proved up or not,” Mr. Perry conceded, “the young man’s name was Jeremy and he was 38 years old. But he said, ‘We got here at 9 o’clock, and those people, this was in Toronto, I think Bay Street is their comparable [Wall Street], he said those bankers that we came to insult, they’d already been at work for two hours when we got here at 9 o’clock, and when we get ready to leave, you know, they’re still in there working. I guess greed just makes you work hard.”

So what’s the problem? There is no “Jeremy” — the quote Perry paraphrased appeared in a satirical piece that ran in Toronto’s Globe and Mail. The piece became a chain email, Perry’s son sent it to him, and the governor failed once again to separate fact from fiction.

I imagine many of us have conservative friends or relatives who send around right-wing chain emails. Most of us, hopefully, realize that the vast majority of these political myths and urban legends are nonsense.

The fact that Perry struggles so frequently in this area is not a good sign.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.