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In Tight Governor’s Race, Every Decision Counts

Bill White

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CBS 11′s Jack Fink Reports:

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With less than a month until Election Day, some polls show a tightening governor’s race. But among black voters, it’s not even close: A variety of polls show that Democratic candidate Bill White has a huge lead over Republican Governor Rick Perry. One describes the gap as four to one.

However, a political decision White made has insulted some in the black community. When President Barack Obama came to Texas in August, White, the former mayor of Houston, didn’t meet with him or greet him at the airport.

Claudia Fowler, a Democratic precinct chair in Dallas County, said he offended some voters because of it.

“Quite a few people that were upset. We felt like it was a disrespect of President Obama’s coming for him not to take time to reschedule to go meet with him”, Fowler said. “We are having some issues with people in the community, well, he didn’t want to go and meet why should I go and vote for him.”

State Senator Royce West (D – Dallas) has heard the same complaints.

“Needless to say, there were people who were offended,” he said.

White has maintained that scheduling conflicts prevented him from meeting with Obama. He said he doesn’t regret his decision.

“Look, I have to keep my campaign schedule,” White said. “I respect every President of the United States, but I’m working to represent the people of Texas. We have great support in the African-American community.”

However, political analyst John Weekley said he believes scheduling conflicts were not the real reason White didn’t greet Obama.

“He really didn’t want to be associated with some of Obama’s unpopular policies,” Weekley said. “But to go to the airport and say hello, welcome to Texas, we’re glad you’re here, and show deference to the President would have been a much smarter move for him.”

But supporters, like Democrat Shirley Price, said voters need to look at the big picture and support White at the polls on Nov. 2.

“As Democrats, we need to pull together and focus,” she said. “This point on should be getting out the Republicans.”

West seconded those statements Tuesday.

“The reality is, I’ve been offended before, but I don’t let the particular offense outweigh the greater good of what needs to happen which is people need to go to the poll and vote,” he said.