August 9th, 2010
12:31 PM ET
12 years ago

White a no-show, but Perry greeting Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Bill White, the former Houston mayor, won't attend a rally with Obama on Monday."]Updated with White House response

(CNN) - President Obama is in Texas Monday in part to raise money for his party's candidates, but the Democrat vying to win the state's top office is nowhere to be seen.

Former Houston mayor and current gubernatorial candidate Bill White is campaigning in Midland and west Texas Monday. He told reporters last week the events had long been scheduled and that his "disciplined" campaign rarely changes events. He said no disrespect was intended to the president.

White's busy day comes a week after the Democratic nominee for governor in Georgia, Roy Barnes, also cited a scheduling conflict for missing the president's fundraising visit to Atlanta.

The Dallas Morning News said that after a Fort Worth appearance Friday, White was asked about being too closely aligned with Obama. White said, "I really don't think about stuff like that. I don't use national figures as surrogates for me. I tend to campaign for myself."

But the paper said he avoided a question about the president's job performance, saying, "I generally don't give running commentary on other levels of government."

Meanwhile, White's Republican opponent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, will be on hand to greet Air Force One when he lands in Austin. A Perry spokesperson told reporters Perry will use his brief conversation with Obama to discuss immigration issues.

UPDATE: On Air Force One en route to Texas, White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters President Obama did not take White's decision as an insult.

"I don't think that there has never been a president in the history of this great country who has been wanted by every single candidate across the country to come and campaign for them," Burton said.

"I don't think that it says anything broadly about the resident's coattails," he added. "I think it says that Bill White had something else going on today that he would rather do than campaign with the president."

UPDATE 2: Gov. Perry clapped as the President came down the steps of Air Force One at Bergstrom International Airport in Austin. The two shook hands, with the president grapsing Perry on the right arm. The pool reporter on the ground reported Perry pulled a letter out of suit pocket, handing it to senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett. Their conversation lasted just a few seconds.

UPDATE 3: Perry's office released a copy of the four-page letter to the president, which covered immigration and border security issues. Perry called the deployment of National Guard troops to the border so far "clearly insufficient". He wrote, "I respectfully but urgently request that the federal government quickly deploy 1,000 troops to the Texas-Mexico border, as well as additional law enforcement tools and technology. We must show the cartels that Washington will no longer tolerate their terrorizing and criminalizing the border region."

Filed under: Bill White • President Obama
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. toughlove

    If there's a way to measure the popularity of the president, it's by the distance between him and his party members.

    August 9, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. Mark

    White is a puss I hope he loses. His lack of respect is worse than the Rebups since he a Dem.

    August 9, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    You know if Obozo had any popularity with potential voters, White would be seen with him. As long as the corrupt, inept, union toady president aligns himself with the forces of evil, he has no credibility. He is a one termer, destined to the dustbin of history, and once a centrury someone will invoke his name as the worst president the country ever had.

    August 9, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Texas is Bush country and I can never imagine a democrat ever winning the gubernatorial bid in Texas. It's just impossible.

    August 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Jilli

    White should have attended, he has the best chance of beating perry – the best chance a dem has had since ann richards. He's outraising Perry, and several republicans have also supported White over Perry. Please bring some sanity to TX!

    August 9, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. gt

    run .. run ...very fast and far away you see...obama is toxic...

    August 9, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. Fair is Fair

    So let's see... that makes Missouri, Georgia, and now Texas (there's probably many more) where dem candidates happen to be at least 100 miles away when Obama shows up.

    Coincidence? Methinks not.

    August 9, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  8. Brian in MD

    Obama is toxic.

    August 9, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. Breach

    Just like roaches I mean Democrats you turn on the lights and they run for darkness. They make me sick – ram trash down our throat for 18 months and then they hide when you bring it up. White is wasting money in Texas – he mgiht as well get on the plane with Obama & go back to DC where they might vote for him where the out of touch live.

    August 9, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Liberals are poison

    Hahahaha, Democrats scurrying away from the toxic Obama and his kiss of death campaign appearances, just like cockroaches run when the lights go on. White is a Clinton tool who screwed up Houston, made millions off his side businesses during Hurricane Katrina, and is a laughing stock in Texas. We don't mind people moving to Texas, but leave your yankee attitudes and liberal mindsets behind. This red state will never turn blue, no matter how many freeloaders come.

    August 9, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. A Real Texan

    Bill White was an exemplary mayor for Houston, leading the city through a well-orchestrated recovery from Katrina. He has challenged Rick Perry to a public debate, but Perry has refused knowing that he would likely stick his foot in his mouth up to his shoulders. Also note in the article that "A Perry spokesperson told reporters Perry will use his brief conversation with Obama to discuss immigration issues." The reason that it's a brief conversation is because Obama refused to meet with Perry. Perry is a prime example of what's gone wrong with leaders in our country and Obama has the good sense not to give him an audience, knowing what a coniving scoundrel he is.

    August 9, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  12. Ancient Texan

    Bill White is fooling no one, he's an Obama supporter and a supporter of the far left agenda. He just doesn't want the public in Texas to realize his position. He learned from Obama; keep the real candidate a mystery.

    August 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. lil

    Maybe White didnt want to be seen with Perry.

    August 9, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. annie s

    If Mr. White can't stand with our President, who needs him?

    August 9, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. Potentate

    That really says something when the local dem won't meet with him and the only one to greet BO is a repub.

    August 9, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. Robert J

    Typical Texas "closet" biggot- Don't you peopl realize how transparant and stupid your comments are to anyone who truly is not a biggot. If Texas ceceded from the union today, Mexico wouldn't even want it. I don't know why the US still does!

    August 9, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. diridi

    do not be an idiotic texan, just go with Bill Clinton, and pres. obama...okay....GOP messed this nation like a hell...listen, and truth...

    August 9, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. rdepontb

    Bill White: My wife and I lived in the great state of Texas for nearly 15 years-Houston, Austin, and El Paso. Loved the people, their can-do, let's get it all working attitudes and ways.

    Your failing to even appear with the President of the United States of America, in your own state, is a show of chicken-livered nonsense. You do not deserve the Party's support, that's for sure. Even our own Republican Governor Perry shows some class in meeting with "the other side."

    I hope the Democrats see exactly what they have in you if you simply refuse to show up. You still have a chance to fly on over to the meeting-please do not shame this great state by skipping the President's visit.

    August 9, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  19. bestglenn

    Hey Bill,
    That is our president and you need to move your "schedule" around.
    You need him and me this November.
    Dallas Small Business owner

    August 9, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. Dennis

    Obama is about as popular as a hurricane in Texas

    August 9, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. T'SAH from Virginia

    Loser! I guess Bill White will not accept any campaign money raised either, right?

    August 9, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. malabar

    Bill whites cojones MIA. quite funny the cowardice bill white is showing. us txans just love cowards hahaha, to laugh at at least. Obama is the leader of ur party doofus, show some respect or lose the respect of voters.

    August 9, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. bcdbcd

    Kudos! Who can blame him? This is the first smart move White has made in this campaign thus far.

    August 9, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. patrick

    You know your true friends when all odds are against you... heck even Peter and his fellow disciples denied Jesus, for Peter it was 3 TIMES

    August 9, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  25. David in Houston

    While I still plan on casting a vote for White, his decision not to meet with our President while he is in the state doesn't sit well with me.

    August 9, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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