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Rick Perry fires back against indictment amid 2016 talk

OFFICE OF GOV. RICK PERRY: "I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto​ and I will continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor." 

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has responded to his felony indictment by a Texas grand jury in no uncertain terms, calling it a politically motivated farce and an abuse of power. 

OFFICE OF GOV. RICK PERRY: "We don't settle political differences with indictments in this country."

The indictment in question alleges that Perry violated the constitution by threatening to defund Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg's public integrity unit if she didn't resign. 

Perry's allegations about the indictment mirror those made against him in the Lehmberg case. 

In his threat to defund the public integrity unit, Perry cited Lehmberg's arrest and conviction for driving while intoxicated— but critics say it was a move to control one of the few state offices held by a Democrat. (Video via KXAN)

In the aftermath of the indictment, many outlets questioned whether it would hurt Perry's chances as a potential presidential candidate in 2016, after running for the nomination in 2012. 

But, so far, a number of prominent conservatives have come out in support of Perry.

As Politico points out, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — three of Perry's potential rivals for the nomination in 2016 — have come out in support of Perry. 

Conservative commentators also support Perry. "The indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry for abuse of his veto power and coercion of a public official is pure, unadulerated hogwash." (Video via Fox News)

And a writer for The New Yorker asked if the indictment is as potentially damaging as Chris Christie's "bridge-gate" scandal, saying Perry is less at fault. "[Christie's aides] sent texts joking about stranded school buses carrying the children of Democratic voters ... No one likes a drunk driver on the road; no one likes being being stuck on the road, either."

But before talk of the political effects the indictment will have on Perry's chances in 2016, it's worth noting the nomination is still more than a year away and Perry's odds weren't necessarily great to begin with. 

FiveThirtyEight notes Perry's polling numbers in Iowa and New Hampshire are down significantly from 2012 and "Perry’s repeated gaffes in 2012 would have made it difficult for the GOP establishment to support him again in 2016.​"

Regardless of the outcome of the indictment, Perry will still have to have his mugshot and fingerprints taken at the Travis County Jail in Austin. 

This story contains images from Getty Images

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