It's no secret that Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are total frenemies. But it turns out that the former Massachusetts governor also has tensions with another potential 2012 rival: Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
While Perry and Romney have made nice for the cameras, the Austin American Statesman's Jason Embry writes today that the two have clashed repeatedly behind the scenes, prompting a political rift that is almost legend in GOP circles.
Apparently, the bad blood dates back to 2002, when Perry was irked by what he claims were attempts to block Boy Scouts from volunteering at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
At the time, Romney, who was chairman of the Salt Lake City Olympics committee, said the Scouts were ineligible for some volunteer roles because they were under 18. But Perry cast the decision as political in his 2008 book about the Boy Scouts, "On My Honor," suggesting Romney had blacklisted the Scouts because the organization had banned a gay Scoutmaster.
"We know that Romney, as a political candidate in the politically liberal state of Massachusetts, has parted ways with the Scouts on its policies over the involvement of gay individuals in Scout activities," Perry wrote.
According to Embry, the two later clashed again, when Romney, as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, hired a consultant who had worked for one of Perry's primary rivals.
In 2008, Perry snubbed Romney and endorsed Rudy Giuliani in the 2008 GOP presidential primary. While Romney later raised cash for Perry's 2010 re-election bid, the Texas governor questioned the ex-governor's conservative credentials in recent months, trashing the health care plan Romney passed in Massachusetts which Republicans have compared to President Obama's health care law.
It's unclear if Romney tried to make nice with Perry ahead of his 2012 bid in hopes of securing an endorsement in the primary. Asked that question last week by The Ticket, an adviser for the Romney campaign didn't have an answer.
But a Perry spokesman tried to downplay the rift between the two, telling Embry his boss has "nothing but respect" for Romney.