Perry Faces Backlash Over Daniel Pearl Comment at Debate

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) -- Rick Perry drew criticism Monday night from at least one reporter on Twitter who took issue with the Texas governor’s use of the death of Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter who was beheaded in 2002, to prove a point as he defended the Marines who urinated on Taliban corpses.

“Let me tell you what’s despicable, cutting Danny Pearl’s head off,” Perry said in Monday night's GOP debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., as he chided the Obama administration’s terming of the Marines’ actions as “despicable.”

John Harwood, a former colleague of Pearl’s at the Wall Street Journal, reprimanded Perry via Twitter, sending this tweet: “As someone who was a friend and colleague of Danny Pearl…Perry’s reference to Danny was irrelevant and gross.”

Katon Dawson, chair of Perry’s campaign in South Carolina, said Perry’s answer was effective and resonated with voters in the state.

“I think he told it just like it is,” Dawson said in the spin room.  “I think South Carolina voters understand that a strong military, a guy who wore the uniform for four and a half years, who volunteered service in the United States Air Force, who has actually been in those countries had a good perspective of it. I think it is something that is a real fact that he addressed.  I think he exposed the facts properly, addressed the question and certainly, from the applause from the audience, they agreed with it.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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