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Rick Perry describes Charleston shooting as an "accident"

Republican presidential hopeful former Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks at a Roast and Ride event hosted by freshman Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) on June 6, 2015 in Boone, Iowa.

Scott Olson, Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry characterized the recent shooting in Charleston as an "accident" during an interview on Friday, accusing President Obama of using the massacre, which claimed nine lives, as a pretext for pushing a gun control agenda.

"This is the MO of this administration anytime there is an accident like this," Perry said during an appearance on Newsmax TV. The former Texas governor said the president "doesn't like guns," so "he uses every opportunity" to tighten restrictions on gun ownership. Video of the appearance was posted on YouTube by Right Wing Watch.

Perry spokesman Lucy Nashed clarified, "From the context of his comments, it is clear Gov. Perry meant incident."

Later in the interview, Perry seemed to offer a different characterization of the shooting, declaring, " This was a crime of hate, we know that."

In a somber address from the White House briefing room on Thursday, the president said the shooting occurred, in part, "because someone who had wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun."

"Now is the time for mourning and for healing, but let's be clear: at some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries," he added. "It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency and it is in our power to do something about it." He criticized Washington politics for "foreclos[ing] a lot of those avenues right now."

The president's reaction, Perry said Friday, is an example of "the knee-jerk reaction of saying if we can just take all the guns away, this won't happen."

The Justice Department is investigating the shooting as a possible hate crime. The alleged shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, is white. His victims, who were participating in a Bible study at an historic black church in Charleston, were black.

CBS News' Alan He contributed to this report.