When Rick Perry's campaign heard about a story being developed by TheHuffington Post on rumors that the Texas governor was gay, it threatened a big lawsuit.
That much was first reported by Politico in December. Arianna Huffington said at the time that the story was spiked because there was "simply no there there." Now BuzzFeed is reporting on the magnitude of the threat issued against Huffington and her news website.
After Huffington Post reporter Jason Cherkis sent the Perry campaign a list of questions about alleged affairs with men, instead of answers he got a threat. Perry aide Ted Delisi said publishing a story like that would lead to Perry "owning a big chunk of AOL," which owns The Huffington Post.
"Ted seemed kind of pissed off at the media in general, saying that standards had obviously declined if this is what passes for news these days. Ted was clear that he thought the story was complete hogwash," wrote Jay Root, a Texas Tribune reporter who describes the exchange in his e-book about Perry's run for president, Oops! A Diary From the 2012 Campaign Trail.
And, of course, the rumors have never been substantiated by any news outlet, including this one, despite lingering in Texas politics for years. Perry might be best remembered from the campaign trail for his antigay television commercial, which made his opposition to repealing "don't ask, don't tell" a centerpiece of his political agenda and then subjected him to widespread mockery.