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Perry Meeting With President Obama

By Shelley, KERA News

Dallas, TX – When President Obama arrives in Texas Monday he'll be met by the Republican Governor who routinely takes shots at him. But the democrat running against Governor Perry is keeping his distance. KERA's Shelley Kofler has more.

Republican Governor Rick Perry has made criticism of the Obama administration a centerpiece in his reelection campaign. Perry opposes the democratic President's healthcare plan and the administration's efforts to further restrict toxic air emissions in Texas. Perry complains Washington is trampling states' rights.

Nevertheless, it will be Perry on the tarmac meeting Air Force One when the President touches down in Austin. Perry's Democratic rival Bill White will be hundreds of miles away, campaigning in West Texas.

Polls show the President's popularity has dropped. In Fort Worth Friday White sidestepped questions about whether he's avoiding Obama because the President could hurt his campaign.

White: I'm campaigning to represent the people of the state of Texas and I don't use folks as surrogates or national figures as surrogates for me. I tend to campaign for myself.

SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson says the Obama visit presents a tricky challenge for White.

Jillson: If you slight President Obama you risk alienating those committed democrats that put him in office. What I think the White campaign is thinking is those folks are going to vote for us anyway. We need to work on the middle, the independents. And independents are now off Obama about two to one.

Governor Perry requested the meeting with the President to talk about more federal help along the Texas-Mexico border and the President's office agreed to a brief meeting probably on the tarmac.

Then the President will headline an Austin fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee, and talk about higher education to an invited audience at the University of Texas.

Late this afternoon the President will touchdown in Dallas for a $15,000 a plate dinner at the home of attorney and democratic donor Russell Budd.

The money raised in Texas will help Democrats running for the US Senate and other key offices across the country. It's unclear whether any of the money raised with Obama will find its way to the White campaign.

White says he hasn't received any financial help from the Democratic National Committee so far and he hasn't asked for it.

Email Shelley Kofler