“I guess I’d call Rick Perry’s campaign ghostly, because he was not the main character. (Karl) Rove, who recruited him to switch parties and run against me, directed the effort. Perry was not any good at campaigning; he had no idea how to deal with Houston and Dallas and San Antonio and South Texas and all that, though I don’t know of any inappropriate comments that he made, because he wasn’t really getting any media. Rove got frustrated with him and sent him out to West Texas to attend Farm Bureau county meetings while Rove raised, I think it was about $3 million, and threw it into TV ads against me. They ran ads of me endorsing Jesse Jackson—ran that in East Texas. One ad showed a hippie setting a flag on fire and throwing it on the ground, and my picture came up out of the flames. So I had supporters in Dallas and Houston and East Texas who said, ‘Well, I liked ol’ Hightower but I didn’t know he burned flags.’”
Get the Longreads Weekly Email
Success! You're on the list.
Whoops! There was an error and we couldn't process your subscription. Please reload the page and try again.