More of an Austin guy
Obama snubs Houston (Not Perry): Education focus makes it particularly galling
Sure, it's just a quick fly-by with a couple Democratic fundraisers in Austin and Dallas. But President Obama's rare trip to Texas is already fraught with drama.
Bill White, the Democratic candidate for governor, will be conspicuous for his absence from any presidential events, as he spends the day campaigning in West Texas.
But Gov. Rick Perry, one of Obama's most outspoken critics on everything from health care to energy policy, took the opportunity to meet the president at the Austin airport to talk about "border concerns." Perry also pulled an Aaliyah and gifted Obama with a four-page letter about the issue.
Obama is not spending the entire day with rich supporters and well-coiffed governors, though. He'll be making a speech on education at the University of Texas at 2 p.m. (Watch it live here.)
We know that in campaign season there's much to be said for going wherever the money is. But although Obama certainly has great memories at UT — the crowd of 20,000 that came out to see him in 2007 was one of the earliest markers of the enthusiasm for his campaign — if he wanted to take the message of education to a community that needs it, he should have hit Houston.
Only 18 percent of young adults in Houston have a college degree, a far cry from the national average of 40 percent and the Texas average of 31 percent.
Why tell Austinites — 88.3 percent of whom have multiple degrees from UT* — about the importance of higher education in building a stronger economy? They know — tech jobs power their city.
If Obama is looking for a city that needs improvement in education (and a reason for people to question Perry's decision not to apply for new federal Race To The Top education initiative funds), Houston is a pretty obvious fit.
But hey, Obama has a busy day. The New Orleans Saints aren't going to congratulate themselves for winning the Super Bowl.
*This statistic is probably not correct, but it feels right.