Both the White and Sharp campaigns played down the absence of Obama from the candidates' recent pitches to voters and donors.
White spokeswoman Katy Bacon pointed out that White has advised Obama on energy issues and visited the White House as mayor. And she recounted a story from White's appearance in May before Obama supporters in Austin, where the mayor said a consultant once advised him not to run for mayor because his ears were too big for TV. White then "slow-mo" walked over to an Obama poster and pointed at the president's noticeable ears — drawing laughter, Bacon said.
In White's 2008 email entitled "Energy Policy at the Beginning of an Administration" to Rahm Emanuel, who now is White House chief of staff, White outlines some of his standard policies for reducing the nation's energy use:
* Use consumer tax credits to promote vehicles with fuel efficiency above 40 miles a gallon.
* Fund a national program to retrofit low-income housing to cut electricity consumption. This was done in weatherization programs and energy efficient appliance rebates that were included in stimulus funds.
* Promote natural gas electrical generating plants. Perry has backed coal-fired plants.
* Promote programs such as smart meters for electricity or rooftop solar energy.
Now, here's the kicker: "Avoid during 2009 wading into the mire of cap-and-trade or user taxes on carbon BEFORE (my emphasis added) the new Administration and Congress has made progress on the above four items."