Rick Perry visits Columbia to campaign with attorney general candidate Ed Martin

Monday, September 24, 2012 | 8:49 p.m. CDT; updated 7:18 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Texas Gov. Rick Perry visited Columbia to campaign with attorney general candidate Ed Martin on Monday afternoon. The two men held a round-table discussion and a meet and greet open to the public.

COLUMBIA — Missouri attorney general candidate Ed Martin and Texas Gov. Rick Perry held a fundraising "business round table" followed by a meet and greet at Bleu Restaurant in Columbia on Monday.

This is the second time Perry has appeared alongside Martin in Missouri. He held a rally with Martin in Cape Girardeau in June.

At Monday's event, both Perry and Martin emphasized their shared goal of legally challenging actions of the federal government that they believe violate the U.S. Constitution or states' rights.

They spoke at a news conference before the round-table discussion, which was closed to the public and to the media. The suggested donation for those who attended the round table was $250 per person or $500 per political action committee, according to a flier for the event.

"I need a partner," Perry said during the news conference. "I need an attorney general in Missouri who will partner with the attorney general in Texas ... and push back on the federal government." 

Perry cited health care, education and the environment as areas in which he wants to challenge federal involvement.  

Referring to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — and echoing his radio advertising campaign — Martin said that in the "first minute" he is in office he will have a legal strategy to "take on Obamacare."

But Martin said he hasn't developed his legal plan yet. He said actions that Texas has taken against the federal government, such as in regards to the health care act, serve as an example of what he wants to do in Missouri. Perry announced in July that Texas has no intention of expanding Medicaid or establishing a health insurance exchange, both of which are provisions of the Affordable Care Act. 

"In Texas we see a model for America of a governor and an attorney general making sure the people of their state are protected," Martin said.

Perry responded to questions from reporters regarding the success of those legal actions. "You can't win if you don't get on the field. Ed's at least going to get Missouri on the field playing the game."

Nancy Osborne, an owner of a marina at the Lake of the Ozarks and a member of the Lake Area Conservative Club, said she wants the attorney general to push back against the federal government because she feels that there are a lot of unelected officials in Washington, D.C., who are putting out business regulations that are hurting Missouri. 

Osborne criticized incumbent Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat seeking re-election, for deciding not to join a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law. She said a majority of Missourians oppose the law.

"We have a governor and an attorney general who turned their backs on our state," Osborne said.

Attempts to reach Koster were unsuccessful. He was reportedly in meetings all day on Monday.

Koster declined to join a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act but later filed a "friend of the court" brief during the appeals process saying that he felt the act's individual mandate was unconstitutional under the federal Commerce Clause but that other provisions of the law could be upheld.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the individual mandate could stand under Congress' taxing power, but it said the federal government could not threaten to withhold states' Medicaid allotments if they declined to go along with provisions of the act that call on states to expand the health care program.

Koster issued a statement after that ruling that essentially agreed with the legal rationale for the court's ruling.

"The complexity of the decision raises a host of pressing issues for our state, including the need to establish our own health care exchange and Missouri's future options regarding Medicaid expansion," Koster said at the time.

Richard Thomas of Middle Grove said he also was dissatisfied by Koster's handling of alleged fraud at the failed Mamtek artificial sweetener plant that was supposed to be established in Moberly. He said he thinks the attorney general should have been involved earlier and been more effective at the outset in this case.

Bruce Cole, the CEO of the failed Mamtek company, was charged last week with theft and securities fraud in Missouri. Koster announced the charges, which capped a yearlong investigation.

Jake Loft, a member of Mizzou College Republicans, said he attended Martin's event on Monday because Perry was there. Loft supported Perry in the presidential primary race, and he thinks that Perry's support as a high-profile Republican will boost Martin's campaign.

"I think it probably means that Ed Martin is a really good candidate," he said.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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