Pres. Candidate Perry Had Little Time For Texas

rick perry out 137344030 Pres. Candidate Perry Had Little Time For Texas

AUSTIN (AP) – Crisscrossing the U.S. during his unsuccessful presidential bid appears to have left Rick Perry little time for Texas, with the governor logging only about 24 hours of official time handling state matters during his nearly six-month campaign, according to an Associated Press analysis of his office schedule.

Perry spent 160 days running for president between Aug. 13 and Jan. 19. His official schedule — obtained under open records requests — showed that he had no state events or activities on 128 of those days. On the other 32 days, he spent roughly 27 hours and 30 minutes officially tending to Texas matters.

Perry’s office said his official schedule doesn’t reflect all the work he does for the state, and noted that most of his appointments, meetings, phone calls, trips and other activities are kept on his personal schedule — which is not released under Texas open records laws.

Still, the governor spent most of his time barnstorming early-voting states like Iowa and South Carolina, or at fundraisers all over the country, from Pebble Beach, Calif. to Palm Beach, Fla. He mitigated the effects of his absence by waiting to join the presidential race until the state Legislature had completed its session.

Perry also suspended his campaign and flew home on Labor Day, when devastating wildfires were ravaging the town of Bastrop and its surrounding county near Austin.

The few state activities listed on Perry’s official schedule include a working lunch with a business delegation from the Middle Eastern country of Azerbaijan; live interviews with television morning shows to discuss the Bastrop fires; taping a video greeting for Billy Graham’s 93rd birthday; and recording a new greeting for those placed on hold while calling his state office.

The tally of those official hours logged for Texas does not include a handful of untimed working sessions, including more than a half-dozen phone briefings on the Bastrop fires that Perry took while fundraising and attending a Republican presidential debate in California.

It further omits a handful of meetings whose duration was not recorded — many of which were held in a conference room at the Austin airport between campaign trips — to discuss everything from state appointments to strategies ahead of a special election to fill a vacant state House seat.

Perry also participated in four conference calls of unknown length to discuss the execution of six death row inmates. Five were put to death, while one, Duane Buck, won a last-minute reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sitting governors putting aside their duties at home to hurdle across the country on a presidential run is nothing new. Perry’s gubernatorial predecessor, George W. Bush, did it in 1999 and 2000, and Bill Clinton left Arkansas behind to campaign full time in 1992. In fact, Bush’s official schedule shows him in Texas just 92 total days in the 17 months before he was elected president in November 2000 — and many of those were spent at his ranch in Crawford.

However, Perry’s total time spent on state business seems especially paltry considering he entered the presidential race relatively late and dropped out after participating in just two electoral contests, the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. But Mark Jones, chairman of the Political Science Department at Rice University, noted that after 11-plus years as governor, Perry’s team does “have a pretty well-oiled machine.”

“When it’s on autopilot, it’s usually going pretty well,” said Jones, who tracks Texas politics.

Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said the governor maintains two schedules because his personal schedule contains political activities and, “Texas law precludes state funds from being used for political purposes.”

A largely empty official schedule isn’t unique to Perry’s presidential run.

In the 30 days before formally entering the presidential race, Perry’s official schedule included virtually no state events. And, during the first month after his bowing out as a presidential candidate, the governor had no state events on his schedule for 17 days. He came to the office for just parts of eight of them, and he recorded a total of about 38 hours and 45 minutes of official work time.

“It raises some concerns. The citizens of Texas have a right to know what their governor is doing and what their tax dollars are being spent on,” said Laura Prather, an Austin attorney and former president of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. “If his official schedule doesn’t do that, there’s really no other source where they can go.”

It wasn’t always this way. In 2001, after Perry first became governor when Bush left for the White House, his office released both an office and “outside” schedule to the public. Both were brimming with official events and informal entries including Spanish lessons for the governor, appointments with his barber, visits to his son’s high school baseball games and even Perry’s attire for each day, which was usually listed as a suit and tie.

Including weekends, vacations and holidays, Perry had just 41 days his first full year in office when no state events were on his schedule.

Nashed, the governor’s spokeswoman, said the staffers in charge of Perry’s schedule have changed over the years, and so has what they prefer to record on his official schedule.

“Some of those personal appointments don’t reflect his activities as governor,” she said of past, more complete schedules. “But regardless, our state schedules have always complied with the Public Information Act.”

Prather conceded that, “different staffs have different outlooks on things.”

“But it’s still the same governor,” she said, “and he has the ultimate say.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Ekim Sregor

    All of which goes to show that Texas is a weak governor state. Serious ;power rests with the Lt. Governor. Rick was gone and we didn’t miss him.

    • Robert

      Well, please quit send the country all of your Inept governors. At least he didn’t get elected like that Bush fella did.

  • od

    he wbas the peoples choice they get what they wanted

  • susan

    yes he was what might be called an “absentee” governor..but then he is that way when he is here! i cant believe people actually vioted for him to be governor of this state!!! oh yes, and he is collecting his pension and his paycheck and living in a $10,000 mionthly mansion until such time as the old governors place is finally repaired!!

  • Joanner Walczak

    And what do you know,BHO has been running every where on AF1 since he
    got into our WH. I would be proud to Have Gov. Perry as my President!!

    • shannie

      I couldnt have said it better. Texas deserves so much more!!!!

    • Robert

      Rick Perry probably couldn’t find the door to the governor’s office or warehouse. At least running for president he had some bright people running his campaign that could tell him where to go. That in itself is very strange. Intelligent people working for idiots & Rick going where these people told him to go instead of where the American people told him where to go. I frequently heard people telling him to “GO TO H—.”

    • Robert

      Dah!!! That is the presidential plane. Maybe you would prefer that he go Greyhound.

      • votejoel

        Actually, Barry bought a couple of Candadian busses as well at a cost of about four million dollars as I recall. . .

    • shannie

      umm, I thought that what a President is suposed to do, cause he is after all the President of the entire nation, not just one state. Don’t get how you can fault him for that??? As a Texan I wanna say Gov Perry is the worst thing to happen to women this century. I hope you dont have daughters, cause he would rather see them barefoot, pregnant and wouldnt care if they were dying of cancer….you must be so proud he set our gender back 50 years.

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  • roy

    Wekk abc, why don’t you check out the obamamoron and tell us how much time he is spending doing the nations business

    • Bennett Hammond

      You use a word whose meaning you should look up, since you clearly have no idea what it means. I suspect there are others that you fling carelessly about, too.

    • shannie

      I can’t say for sure but I’d bet my life’s savings it’s more than 24 hours a year. You perrymoron.

  • Robert

    That is very strange. He wasn’t successful at running for president or being governor, but he still made good money. I take back what I said about him being an idiot.

  • Bennett Hammond

    Well, today’s Republican hates the government, anyway, so there is no surprise here.

    • Robert

      Ah. Don’t be so hard on him. It’s not that he was hard on the government. He just didn’t understand it.

  • dhd

    Can someone explain to me why the majority of his “appointments, meetings, phone calls, trips and other activities are kept on his personal schedule — which is not released under Texas open records laws?” Seems to me that if he is doing anything related to his public duties, then it should be placed on both his personal and official schedule. Otherwise any appointments, meetings, phone calls, trips, etc. should be considered private and funded by his personal accounts.

  • Bill

    I thought Bush was a bad governor. Then along came Perry.

  • Izzy

    if you all are lucky, he will do a Palin next.

  • Les Miles

    This guy is a buffoon. If he’s reelected, I will lose all faith in my fellow Texans.

  • Lee Finney

    When the governor takes his job and pay for granted the only place to go is to the residents of Texas, the public who continues to vote him into a free ride for everyone except our taxpayers.
    Are we really expected to accept legislators that schedule their duties to minimal expectations? Texas residents have been fired for less.

  • Bill Sellers

    Ain’t got time for ya! I’m runnin’t fer prezzidint. Talk to that dead coyote, boy!

  • AlanC

    I didn’t know we had turds like you people in this state. BUT, you’re proof we do.

  • Dina Garcia

    They should have to resign an office to run for a different office. its flat raping taxpayers yet again.I am sick to death of all the ways these jerks are stealing tax dollars while we workers are out here starving to death and loosing our homes!

    • Lee Finney

      Yes, people loosing their homes while Rick Perry and family live in a mansion costing the Texas taxpayers $10,000 per month. If he enjoys being “Defender of Jerusalem” then let him relocate there and have their people pay for his castle, his run for president and his double dipping salaray/retirement package for which any working citizen would be charged with fraud.

  • L Collins

    Perry needs recalled! This village idiot is not capable of running this State.
    His people run this State, they know he would run it right into the ground!
    Across the U.S. people think we are crazy with this man as our Gov.
    They can’t even figure out who is the bigger idiots, Perry or Us! We are the ones that keep electing him into office!

  • Jeff

    Must be nice to have a job that pays you (for 6 months) while you are looking for another job. How do I get something like that?

    • Lee Finney

      You have to promise the people of Texas that your priority is their best interest and welfare while jumping on a gravy train funded by their taxes and contributions from big business. While legislators attempting to represent the residents of Texas rather than themselves receive redistricting to reduce the voice of their citizens.
      Thanks, Lee Finney

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    • Lee Finney

      Yes, it is great to live in Texas as long as you can handle the political embarrasment. Texas, where homes are taken by “eminant domain” to bild shopping mall parking lots and football stadiums. where the “Dallas Cowboys” conduct their activities in Irving, Texas and now Arlington, Texas. Where unemployment is below the national average because “Turists” illegal aliens are working under three different names and the average pay is just above minimum wage. Where utility companies are allowed to claim credit for programs paid by consumer dollars as arranged in their recovery contract designed by the Utility Commission of Texas. Especially where big business and stae government remain not responsible, unaccountable and unanswerable to those issues choking the life from 85% of Texas residents.
      Any legislator representing only themselves need to be represented out office by the people. The people hold the power to overcome paying enormous taxes with no return value but it has to be a collective voice.

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