Perry invites Obama to tour the border with him
By R.G. RATCLIFFE AUSTIN BUREAU
Aug. 9, 2010, 3:57PM
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry's meeting at the Austin airport with President Barack Obama on border security lasted a mere 34 seconds, and Perry had to hand a letter on the issue to presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett because Obama declined to personally accept it.
That did not dissuade the governor from inviting Obama to come back to Texas and tour the border with him to get a first hand look at what Perry describes as the threat from Mexican drug cartels.
"Look, he's got the letter. I suspect he'll read it. I hope he responds to it," Perry said. "This is way past partisanship or politics."
Perry said Obama's decision to send 1,200 troops to the entire border with Mexico was inadequate, particularly since only 286 are coming to Texas.
Perry said he would like a substantial meeting with Obama to discuss the need for 1,000 National Guard troops until 3,000 Border Patrol agents can be trained to take over.
"We need a substantial amount of boots on the ground. We need the technology in the air. The predator drones. The other technologies we've talked about: night vision equipment, cameras, motion-detecting equipment," Perry said.
The governor said immigration reform is "a waste of effort until you secure the border."
During their airport meeting, Perry applauded as Obama came down the steps from Air Force One.
"It's the gracious thing to do. He's the president of the United States," Perry said later.
Obama and Perry shook hands for several seconds. Obama used his free left hand to give Perry two friendly slaps on the right arm.
When they released their handshake, Perry attempted to hand Obama a white envelope containing his letter on border security. Obama did not respond when Perry first held it forward. Then when the governor offered it up again, Obama turned to his right and motioned toward key adviser Jarrett. She took several quick steps toward the men and took the letter from Perry.
Obama then turned to a greeting of state Sen. Kirk Watson and state Rep. Mark Strama, both D-Austin. The lawmakers had been staunch supporters of Obama's during his campaign for president.
Snubbing the governor of the second largest state, which the second largest economy, for no reason. Hope and Change at its finest...