Houston, Texas (CNN) – Bill White, the Democratic nominee for governor in Texas, compared Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday to an immature school child who refuses to take responsibility for his actions.
White, the former mayor of Houston, made the comments to reporters after a tour of YES! Prep North Forest, a publicly funded charter school on the city's north side where White's son is a first-year teacher.
White accused Perry, a Republican, of trying to turn the race into a referendum on President Obama because he hopes "that people will forget he's been governor for nine and a half years."
Perry, who leads White by anywhere from 5 to 14 points depending on the poll, assumed the governorship in 2000 when then-Gov. George W. Bush became president and is now seeking an unprecedented third full term in Austin.
White said Perry has expanded the state debt, failed to secure the federal resources necessary to secure the Texas-Mexico border and left the Texas' public schools in a ruinous state.
"In schools like this, one of the things that teachers teach, and parents must teach their children, is acceptance of individual responsibility," White said. "One of the things that classroom teachers confront, and that they teach young people to do, is don't always blame somebody else - 'I forgot my book, or so-and-so didn't give me the assignment' - but to accept personal responsibility for those things that you are supposed to be responsible for."
"I have yet to hear Rick Perry in nine and a half years claim any responsibility for the many, many management shortcomings and lack of results that he's brought," White added. "He blames others."
Perry's campaign responded to the attack.
"Considering Bill White's campaign has been stuck in neutral for the past several months, it's not surprising all he can do is attack with false information," Mark Miner, spokesman for the Rick Perry campaign said. "Because of Governor Perry's leadership, Texas continues to create jobs and have a strong economy. Supporting tax increases and President Obama's policies, like Bill White does, will move Texas in the wrong direction."