The Washington Times - September 7, 2011, 10:28PM

The audience at Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate applauded when moderator Brian Williams asked about the 234 death row inmates that have been executed in Texas during Gov. Rick Perry’s decade-long tenure, prompting Mr. Williams to wonder what that meant.

“What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here, the mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?” Mr. Williams, the news anchor for NBC, asked Mr. Perry.

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The governor, who had said he doesn’t struggle with the idea that one of them might have been innocent, said the applause was a signal of Americans’ commitment to justice.

“I think Americans are clearly, in the vast majority of cases, supportive of capital punishment,” he said. “When you have committed heinous crimes against our citizens — and it’s a state-by-state issue — but in the state of Texas, our citizens have made that decision, and they made it clear, and they don’t want you to commit those crimes against our citizens. And if you do, you will face the ultimate justice.”