Rick “Chicken” Perry Campaign Hosts Bill White Press Conference

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The following is cross-posted from Daily Kos. Please go over there and recommend this diary!

For over half an hour, the chants at Rick “Chicken” Perry's campaign press conference were drowned out by dozens of proud Texas Democrats shouting the same two things:

“Rick Chicken Perry! Rick Chicken Perry! Debate Bill Now! Debate Bill Now!”

Rick Perry tried to host a press conference in front of the Bill White for Texas and Travis County Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign office. Make no mistake — the photos and video you're about to see below are from Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry's press conference – and it was perhaps the most disastrous press conference in Texas political history. The Perry team, thinking they could pull off a cute stunt, instead were overwhelmed with more than 60 Bill White supporters and — of course — a chicken suit.

Before I write any more, I have to give a major shout of congratulations to the students at the Mark Strama Campaign Academy, and all the Bill White volunteers who showed up. Without their chants, support, and willingness to dress up in a chicken suit, none of this would have been possible. They deserve the credit for taking control of Rick Perry's failed press conference.

I live-blogged the event at Burnt Orange Report. The slideshow below — photos courtesy of Katie Naranjo and Katherine Haenschen, the first a former and the second a current writer at Texas' own Burnt Orange Report — captures the sheer force of Democrats responding to Rick Perry's stunt:

For those who haven't been following this race, here's what's going on: On April 26, 2010, Rick Perry's campaign first said he'd refuse to debate until Bill White released his tax returns:

“If he releases his tax returns, we'll be happy to talk about debate dates,” said Miner.

Last week, Bill White released his tax returns for his first six years as mayor — fully answering to the Rick Perry campaign's original request. Editorials have come out against Perry's continued stalling in full force — with the San Antonio Express-News even asking, “Is Rick Perry afraid to debate?

However, the Texas Tribune's Evan Smith may have said it best, calling Perry's refusal to debate CRAP:

Let's call that what it is: CRAP. The Perry campaign, if the Perry campaign thinks it will get away with not allowing a debate to occur between him and the major party candidate for Governor over what they perceive to be an insufficient release of the Mayor's tax returns it is, pure and simple, crap. It should be called crap by everybody, and no one should allow the Perry campaign to get away with it.

As you can tell, Democrats aren't going to let him get away with it. Today marked Day 50 of Rick Perry refusing to debate, and with press conferences like this, Perry may have to cave much sooner than he'd hoped. Their idea was dumb from the beginning — they wanted to have a press conference to talk in front of Bill White's Austin headquarters. However, word spread after they sent out their media advisory, and before you knew it Democrats had swarmed their presser. The Texas Tribune's Elise Hu captured video of the chaos:

Rick “Chicken” Perry and his campaign team are, allegedly, among the best and the brightest. But while Rick Perry is off in China, his campaign team — led by Mark Miner — got drowned out in one of the stupidest press conferences ever.

I'd be remiss if I didn't give everyone a chance to hear Miner's chants drowned out by the crowd one more time, so here is the Austin American-Statesman's footage:



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.

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