HOUSTON (KTRK) -- In 'Vote 2010,' we're again giving you unique access to the man who could be your governor for the next four years. It's a day in the life of Rick Perry.
Even though he's leading in the polls, he's still putting in long days. Eyewitness News followed him from Bryan to Beaumont to Conroe to Grapeland and then finally Dallas.
Perry knows his routine. This is his 20th year of campaigning across a very large state.
"America's best days are in front of it, and I know Texas' best days are still in front of it," Perry told a crowd.
This year, the 10-year incumbent cast himself as an outsider fighting Washington, standing up for Texans.
"I don't think he's a career politician," supporter Barbara Liming said. "I think he's a concerned Texan."
By 10am, Perry had already been up for hours. At his first event, he surprised a Bryan principal with a $25,000 check from a National Education Foundation but wouldn't leave without working the crowd, regardless of whether they were old enough to vote or too young to tie their own shoes.
From there, he headed back on the plane to Beaumont and into an adoring, excited crowd. But it also was the only time we saw a sign of his opponent, Democratic Bill White. The two loud protestors rattled Perry just a bit, but it was a brief distraction, not a long diversion.
Perry did not stray from his message for long, and it was forgotten an hour later in Conroe, where a standing-room only event was so overcrowded, the sheriff almost kept Perry's staff from attending.
Leading in the polls, he seems comfortable.
"I am a pretty faithful guy that this will turn out the way it's supposed to turn out," he said. "At the end of the day, I'm pretty comfortable the good Lord is in control and we'll be fine."
And at an hour when most Texans were heading home, Perry was off to his fifth event of the day. He spoke to thousands of African American women at Bishop TD Jakes Potter's House Church in Dallas, mindful he has just 12 days left.
"God bless you, and through you, may God continue to bless the great state of Texas," Perry told the crowd.
Perry rarely mentions White in his speeches, but he did encourage his supporters to contact friends in other states to garner support for like-minded candidates. He admits the national sway is helping him in this election season, but he has no aspiration to run for president.
The Conroe Courier also wrote up Rick's day on the campaign trail (link). Excerpt follows...
Perry wows supporters at Conroe campaign stop
By Nancy Flake
While he may be in a fairly close political race, Gov. Rick Perry heard nothing but cheers from Montgomery County residents supporting him during an appearance Thursday afternoon.
At least 300 people crowded inside and outside McKenzie’s Barbeque, located at 1501 N. Frazier in Conroe, to hear Perry talk about what’s right in Texas and then to have their picture taken with him.
The only people dissenting from the crowd were a few supporters of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White. They stood across the street from the restaurant waving White campaign signs. Perry and White face off in the Nov. 2 election.
After waiting patiently for Perry’s appearance, the crowd gave a rousing cheer when he walked in the door. They kept cheering as he bashed President Barack Obama.
“People keep asking me, ‘Why do you talk about Washington?’” Perry said. “Washington’s mortgaging our children’s future. Obamacare (the health care reform act) is a great example. ... It will cost us $2.7 billion a year. It’d completely bust us. We’ve got to stand up and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Perry talked of the inspiration he’d received from his father, who told him the federal government is supposed to do three things: Deliver the mail, defend and secure the borders and sustain the military.
Perry praised the military, but said, “Our federal government on the other two is an abject failure. Mr. President, until you get those three things right, don’t be coming down here and telling us how to run this state.”
Texas has created more jobs than any other state, Perry said, and 153 businesses in California have pulled up stakes there since January to relocate in Texas.
“All of this didn’t happen by accident,” he said. “There’s still a land of opportunity in America. It’s called Texas.”
The federal government is failing Texas in the defense of its borders with Mexico, Perry said.
“Our federal government will not send the needed troops, the support ... to help us secure the border,” he said. “We can no longer stand to have our citizens killed. You can secure the border, Mr. President. You just have to admit you’re a failure first.
“Man up and do what’s right.”
After he spoke, Perry then waited and had his picture taken with anyone who wanted to do so. One of those was 11-year-old Travis Ogden, a sixth-grader who created a notebook about Texas.
“I want to get a picture, and I was going to ask him to sign this,” said Ogden, flipping open the notebook’s pages.
Perry did sign a page in the notebook, and also signed a page for a future notebook Travis’ younger sister Krista will create.
Perry’s campaign ads tout the positive business environment he’s maintained in Texas, and Darin McKenzie, owner of the restaurant, didn’t dispute it.
“Today, he’s real good for my business,” he said. “It was a good advertisement that I didn’t have to pay for.”
Sheri Kennedy, of Montgomery, was one of several people wearing Tea Party shirts to the event. She supports Perry.
“Oh, heck yeah,” she said. “Because I like the condition Texas is in right now. Why mess with it – why mess a good thing up?
“I wish he’d run for president.”
Perry spent a few minutes with the media, and when he was asked to respond to White’s allegation that Perry is living in a mansion while many Texans are losing their homes, he said he would “dearly love” to be back in the Governor’s Mansion, which is undergoing massive renovations from a fire.
“We’re pretty much going to live where the Legislature wants us to live,” he said. “He’ll (White) probably just stick in that $2.5 million mansion in Houston he’s living in.”
Perry also said getting out in front of Texans to answer their questions was a better use of his time than meeting with newspaper editorial boards.
The turnout for his Conroe visit is part of the general mood of the state, he said.
“It’s about saying, ‘Governor, we approve you telling Washington to butt out of our business,’” he said.
Quite a contrast between Rick's events and Bill White's events... Bill White is just a lack luster candidate as I said before... he is not generating any kind of traction... he is about to get smoked... absolutely smoked...