With the good citizens of New York City distracted by the other politician in town today, it seems that Rick Perry thought he could just slip into Inwood's Papasito Mexican Grill largely unnoticed. Not on Charlie Rangel's watch! The fifteenth district's Democratic representative took it upon himself to pay a visit to the restaurant — the site of "what was supposed to be a quiet fundraiser" with local Hispanic businessmen — to make sure the Texas governor knew whose turf he was on:
Rangel stayed for several minutes, telling reporters on his way out that he had shown up to make Perry "feel more comfortable."
"I would not want to embarrass him here," Rangel said, adding his opinion of Perry: "He's tall and he's from Texas."
Rangel left the event before Perry addressed the crowd, leaving organizer Fernando Mateo to issue a terse response to the drop-in: "He's a statesman in New York, and we were always taught by our parents to respect the elder." That Rick Perry really brings out the cowboy in everyone.
Perry's outreach to the Hispanic community comes from the idea that he may find some support among the group nationwide because of his split with the rest of the GOP field on immigration. Perry opposes a border fence and, as the governor of a border state, supports a citizenship route for students and soldiers.
Dipping into traditional Democrat strongholds seems to be Perry's focus on his New York trip, as he's set to deliver a speech Tuesday against Obama's policy on Israel, the subject of this very magazine's latest cover story by John Heilemann. Perry's pro-Israel offensive this week alone is detailed here by Tablet:
Heilemann’s piece surely went to press before Perry published his op-ed chastising Obama on Israel; and before Perry announced a $2500-a-head kosher fund-raiser in New York; and before (yikes) Perry announced he would be holding a press conference Tuesday in New York with MK Danny Danon, the politician most closely associated with the plan to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank; and before (yikes!) Netanyahu’s people mentioned the prime minister might make a side trip to New York’s ninth congressional district, site of last week’s Israel-heavy special election. ... Israel’s relevance in the United States is going to embolden the right on both sides; they are feeding off of each other at this point, and the thing is going to take on a momentum all its own.
Related: The Tsuris [NYM]
Charles Rangel on Rick Perry: 'Tall and he's from Texas' [Politico]
Rick Perry Takes Upper Manhattan [Caucus/NYT]