Bill White Avoids Obama in Texas, Rick Perry Campaign Pounces

Houston mayoral candidate Bill White speaks with supporters after winning the runoff election Saturday 12/6/03 AP

President Obama travels to Texas today, but the state's Democratic candidate for governor won't be there to greet him.

While Mr. Obama delivers remarks on education and attends Democratic fundraisers in Austin and Dallas, Democratic candidate Bill White, the former mayor of Houston, will be at campaign events in other parts of the state.

White last week tried to downplay his decision to not appear with the president, the Dallas Morning News reports. When asked by reporters on Friday if he was worried about being too closely identified 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."

Republican Gov. Rick Perry, however, is using the president's visit to tie White to the president's policies. His campaign released a video today that splices pictures of White with the pro-Obama "Yes We Can" music video that became popular during 2008 election.

The White campaign maintains that he is against President Obama's health care reforms and opposes cap-and-trade legislation, the Austin American-Statesman reports. He also calls himself a fiscal conservative.

"Rick Perry wants more than anything to run against President Obama and Washington because he doesn't want to run against Bill White," White spokeswoman Katy Bacon told the newspaper.

Mr. Obama is less popular in Texas than in the country overall, according to polls. A July Rasmussen Reports survey showed 63 percent of Texas voters disapproved of the job the president was doing, compared with 54 percent of Americans nationwide.

The state, however, is still a strong fundraising destination for Democrats, according to the Houston Chronicle. The DNC's fundraising efforts in the state today are "not about one candidate," Hector Nieto, a Texas spokesman for the DNC's Organizing For America, reportedly said.

The president's trip to Texas today is part of a fundraising blitz he is partaking in this month, ahead of the midterm elections this fall.

While he won't meet with White, Mr. Obama will be greeted at the Austin airport today by Perry, who plans to talk to the president about border security.

Some early polling gives Perry the edge so far in the race, but there hasn't been a new poll released in about a month.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Campaign 2010

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