President Obama Visits TX, Skips Houston, White Keeps Distance

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.
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