She proposed suspending congressional elections for two years so Congress can focus on the economy and job creation and less on politics and the next election.
"I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them - whatever decisions they make - to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that," Perdue said.
"You want people who don't worry about the next election," she continued.
Perdue's office soon backed away from the statement, saying she was joking. On the governor's Facebook page, Press Secretary Chris Mackey said:
"Come on…Gov. Perdue was obviously using hyperbole to highlight what we can all agree is a serious problem: Washington politicians who focus on their own election instead of what’s best for the people they serve."
Former NC gubernatorial candidate Pat McCory, who's expected to challenge Perdue again in 2012, wasn't satisfied.
"Not only does this bizarre commentary suggest ignoring the Constitution, but does Governor Perdue forget her own inability to work with the Legislature, regardless if controlled by Democrats or Republicans? Governor, those in glass houses should not throw stones. We look forward to all of the upcoming elections in North Carolina in 2012," he offered in a statement.
Expect the comment to be political fodder for days to come. Tuesday evening, the conservative Civitas Institute had already launched an online petition using Perdue's words to raise money.