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Hutchison defends Cain, won't retract criticisms of Perry

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) refused to backdown from her attacks on Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) and defended Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain from sexual harassment allegations in an interview on CNN on Sunday.

Candy Crowley, host of CNN's State of the Union, pressed Hutchison on whether she stands by her claims that Perry is soft on illegal immigration and participates in "good old boy, backroom politics."

"I'm not going to backtrack on anything I said," Hutchison told Crowley.

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 Hutchison made the criticisms of Perry when she challenged him in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary in Texas. Perry won handily. 

"He was pretty brutal on my record, and I took on his record," Hutchison said. "And that's the way politics is, and it does come back."

Hutchison said Texans are less supportive of Perry in his presidential bid than they were of then-Gov. George W. Bush in his 2000 run.

"I think when you've been in office for a long time, you have a record, and that record is fair game," Hutchison said of the three-term governor. "And I think that some of the things in his record have certainly not been helpful," she said, mentioning the Trans-Texas Corridor transportation project.

Hutchison defended businessman Herman Cain from allegations that he sexually harassed women when he was head of the National Restaurant Association. 

"I just don't see anonymous sources as fair against a candidate," she said. "I think if someone has a real concern, they should come out and say it."

According to reports, the women signed confidentiality agreements not to discuss the incidents as part of their settlements with the restaurant group. On Friday, the National Restaurant Association released one of the accusers from that agreement. The woman's attorney said that she did not intend to speak publicly on the matter but stood by her complaint.

Hutchison accused Cain's Republican opponents of planting the story with the press, although she did not single out Perry by name as Cain's chief of staff did last week.

"I think this is a presidential campaign thing," Hutchison said. "His opponents are coming forward and trying to dredge things up."

She said if more credible evidence emerges to support the allegations "that would be a problem," but until then, she sees the controversy as "politics as usual."

This story was updated at 11:18 a.m.