Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Governor Perry: 'Clayton Williams Lite?'

Strayhorn: Perry sexist in ad that calls her "politician woman"

Associated Press
Copyright 2006

WACO, Texas - Independent governor candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn claimed Wednesday that Republican Gov. Rick Perry's new radio attack ad is sexist because it suggests a woman, and her in particular, is incapable of being governor.

"The implication is certainly, is certainly, that a woman is not tough enough to be governor," Strayhorn told about 40 supporters at a park beside the Brazos River in Waco.

The Perry radio ad that began airing Tuesday spoofs a popular beer jingle and calls Strayhorn "Mrs. Corrupt Comptroller Politician Woman," much like another Perry ad calls Democrat Chris Bell "Mr. Way Too Liberal For Texas Guy."

Strayhorn said the ad against her is a desperate move by Perry in the last days of the campaign.

"Politician woman, woman, woman, woman," she said, mocking the ad. "That is sad. I thought that was gone decades ago, and here he is talking 'politician woman.' "

Perry campaign spokesman Ted Royer said he found it curious that Strayhorn was only complaining about the word "woman" and not "corrupt."

"We'd run a similarly titled ad if Texas had a corrupt comptroller politician man," Royer said.

The four major candidates for governor were campaigning in vastly different ways Wednesday with six days until Election Day. Bell held rallies in the Coastal Bend; Kinky Friedman spent his 62nd birthday having lunch with reporters at a Jewish deli in Houston; and Perry planned to speak to capital reporters about border security after a fundraiser in Washington Tuesday night.

"Who knows how many dollars he's getting from D.C. lobbyists?" Strayhorn said.

Royer said Strayhorn has no room to criticize.

"This is coming from a politician who has taken millions of dollars from individuals who are seeking tax refunds from her office," Royer said, referring to about $2 million Strayhorn has received over four years from officials with Ryan & Co., which helps companies dispute taxes with the comptroller's office.

Perry also released a television ad in English and Spanish touting his accomplishments in office. Those gains included a record budget surplus, more job opportunities, more money for schools and a more secure border, according to the ad.

Strayhorn, 67, often points out that she was the first woman elected Texas comptroller and the first woman to hold other previous political posts.

Strayhorn emphasized her usual themes that she's looking out for the children of Texas and that she's running outside of a political party because she wants to "shake Austin up."

A number of her supporters held campaign signs opposing the Trans-Texas Corridor, a massive toll road project proposed by Perry. Strayhorn repeated her opposition to the $184 billion project she calls the "Trans-Texas Catastrophe."

Darlene Ray, 54, said she drove from Collin County north of Dallas to attend the Waco event because she's so mad about the Trans-Texas Corridor. Ray, who works in sales, said she has 52 acres of farm and ranch land in Collin County that sits in the corridor path.

"I think Texans deserve a vote on something like this."

Chris Bell campaigned in the Coastal Bend on Wednesday with help from U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, a legend in the heavily Democratic region.

Speaking to about three dozen elderly people at the Robstown senior citizens center, Bell said state leaders have to stop drafting policies that hold Hispanics down.

"Todos estamos in esto juntos - We are all in this together," he said.

Later, Bell said cuts to the Children's Health Insurance Program and the state's dropout crisis are disproportionately affecting Hispanics.

At the Robstown Democratic party headquarters, Pura Garcia firmly grasped Bell's hand and told him, "You've got to get us out of this mess."

Garcia, a 77-year-old retired teacher's assistant said teachers are being paid "peon's salaries" and their classrooms are too full.

"Those Republicans got us pretty bad," she said. "I mean we're sinking."

Bell also attended a rally in Corpus Christi and planned to participate in similar events in Victoria and at Texas A&M University later Wednesday.


Kelley Shannon has covered Texas politics and government based in Austin since 2000; Associated Press Writer Liz Austin contributed to this report from Robstown.
Click here to find out more!

© 2006 The Associated Press: