Anita Perry

The 53-year-old first lady of Texas on small-town values, getting burned by the press, what we don’t understand about the governor, and her reaction to “Adiós, mofo.”

Evan Smith: So are the Hutchisons back on your Christmas card list?

Anita Perry: They were never off.

ES: Really? You can separate the personal from the political?

AP: I can separate it. I’ll be honest with you, though. The list has 10,000 to 25,000 names on it. Can I absolutely, positively say they’re on there? I think so.

ES: I didn’t mean it in the literal sense.

AP: Yeah, they would always be on my Christmas card list.

ES: Okay, what about the Strayhorns?

AP: Absolutely. If I saw Carole right this minute, I’d ask about her children and grandchildren.

ES: It must be difficult, not as the first lady but as a wife, to turn on the TV and hear someone like the comptroller say such unkind things about your husband.

AP: “Drugstore cowboy” was a little too much for me, because when I met him, he was a cowboy, a real cowboy. He had his own horse, and he could saddle it and take care of it. He broke his arm putting his pony in the trailer when he was sixteen. I’ve actually seen him round up cattle, work cattle, brand cattle, immunize cattle. So he’s not a drugstore cowboy to me.

ES: That’s only the beginning of what’s going to be a difficult, nasty campaign. Are you prepared for what’s

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