President Obama Visits TX, Skips Houston, White Keeps Distance

President Obama is in Texas this afternoon. He started off in Austin with a fundraiser and a speech at UT to talk about what needs to be done to increase college graduation rates. He’s now in Dallas, where he’s holding another fundraiser. As David Pitman reports, the president’s trip to Texas is also notable for where he’s “not” stopping, and one politician he’s “not” making an appearance with.

Houston is not part of the president’s itenerary. Rice University Political Science Professor Bob Stein says logistics probably influenced that decision, along with the president’s ability to draw a friendlier crowd in Austin, and more cash for Democrats in Dallas. Stein also says there’s another point that can’t be overlooked.

“Houston is the largest city to elect a gay mayor. And although that may be popular in Democratic quarters, it may not be all that popular here in Texas, particularly for Bill White right now, who’s trying to win over some Kay Bailey Hutchison supporters.”

White, the former Houston mayor who’s running to unseat Republican Governor Rick Perry, passed on the opportunity to be seen with President Obama this time around. Stein says that decision probably won’t affect his support from core Democrats, and it could actually help him pick up more indepedent voters.

“The no-show here, and the continuation of his campaigning in West Texas is a continuation of a strategy that’s worked reasonably well for him. It remains to be seen whether it will be successful, but I think any deviation from it could have done him more harm.”

Stein says the Perry campaign is also looking to use Mister Obama’s trip to its advantage. While some reports say Governor Perry “greeted” the president on the tarmac in Austin, Stein would characterize that as more of a confrontation — a meeting that would give Perry the chance to tell voters he spoke ‘truth to power’ on the President’s immigration and offshore oil drilling policies.


David Pitman

David Pitman

Host, Morning Edition

Hi there. I’m glad you found me. Let me take a moment to answer some of the questions you might have about me and my job. I have worked as Morning Edition Host and reporter at News 88.7 since August of 2009. Previously, I hosted Morning Edition at WMFE in...

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