190 Days Until the Election and Rick Perry is Already Scared to Debate Bill White

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On day 3,413 of Rick Perry's decade of failure as Texas' Governor, Rick Perry declared to Texas that he is a big coward. My immediate thoughts:

  • If Rick Perry is so proud of Texas, why won't he stand next to Bill White and say so?

Because Rick Perry can't defend his failures, that's why. From WFAA in Dallas:

Belo Corp., the company that owns WFAA and TV stations in Austin, Houston and San Antonio, sponsored a statewide debate during the Republican primary and invited Perry and White to debate this fall.

White accepted. But Perry's campaign spokesman, Mark Miner, says not yet.

“Once he releases his income taxes and tells the public how he made his money while in public service and as a business person,  we'll be more than happy to discuss debates,” Miner said.

The Perry campaign demands White release returns for all six years he served as Houston's mayor and two years as deputy energy secretary in 1990s.

White has released only his 2009 tax return since he's running for a statewide office just as Perry has since 1991. White said he will disclose specific information when asked.

“We'll take in consideration releasing tax returns or parts of those tax returns,” White said. “We've been providing information from them to journalists as time goes on. I just want there to be a standard that's applicable to all candidates.”

This has to be one of the most chicken-moves imaginable. The Perry campaign is terrified — absolutely terrified — of standing next to Bill White and defending their record. Perry already skipped out on all newspaper endorsement meetings in his primary race against Hutchison, knowing full well that his repetitive history of lies could not stand the scrutiny of their honest fact-checking and reasonable requests for responsible solutions. 

It's a cowards play, and a pretty weak one at that. Rick Perry thinks Bill White should release random tax returns from obscure years when he wasn't running for statewide office — a standard that doesn't measure up to what Perry himself has done. Moreover, Perry's own Lieutenant Governor, David Dewhurst, has failed to release a single one of his tax returns.

Finally — Rick, if you think these damn tax returns are so important, why don't you stand next to Bill White in front of a television camera and say so?

The answer is clear: Rick Perry is terrified to stand next to Bill White and defend his record.

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About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.

9 Comments

  1. Another round of…
    …”show us your papers!” for the Republican Party. Immigration status, President's birth certificate, now random tax returns. What's next? 8th grade report cards? Frequent flier statements?  

  2. Or to put it another way…
    Maybe Bill White shouldn't debate Rick Perry until he starts acting like a grown up.

  3. chicken rick
    this could get very fun.

    what a petty line to draw in the sand. perry is definitely going to regret letting his staff push him to take this stance.

    the Dewhurst precedent alone makes chicken rick's position untenable.

    i put the over/under on a protester in a chicken suit stalking perry at 10 days.

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