Speaking to a political television program in Florida today, Gov. Rick Perry walked back his recent flirtation with the "birther" movement and announced his opposition to license plates bearing the Confederate flag.
Perry told the news program that he has no doubt that President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen and explained that he was only kidding when he made remarks recently suggesting he was not completely convinced that Obama was born in the United States.
Perry also said on the program that he opposed a plan to offer Texas license plates with the Confederate flag on them.
"We don't need to be scraping old wounds," Perry said.
The governing board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, Perry appointees, could decide on the controversial plate within the next month. Dozens of Democratic lawmakers have opposed the proposal. More than 22,000 people have signed petitions against issuing the plate.
The plate was proposed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which is an ancestral history group.
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, now a candidate for lieutenant governor, is a member of the group and has been one of the most outspoken proponents for issuing the plate.
In July, Patterson penned a guest column for the Star-Telegram about the plates. In the column, he compared the Confederate plate to one he also supported to honor the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum:
"I am proudly a member of the SCV; my great-grandfather James Monroe Cole served in the Louisiana Infantry during the War, died in the Confederate Veterans Home and is buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.
"As a statewide elected official, I sponsored the plate because of my personal heritage and my commitment to Texas history - even the history others might find offensive."