Bill White and Gov.Rick Perry both campaigned in Houston on Wednesday, but they were miles apart on the issue of having a debate before the November 2 election.
Perry stood his ground and stuck to the midnight deadline for White to release additional income tax returns covering the years he was chair of the Texas Democratic Party and later served as deputy U.S. Secretary of Energy.
For his part, White accused Perry of playing the people of Texas by setting artificial conditions for a debate. White, who has released his income tax returns covering the six years he was Mayor of Houston, also said that Perry was disrespecting the people of Texas.
Both campaigns issued official statements on their rhetorical debate over the debate. I’ve posted both below:
From Perry’s campaign: Scandal has followed every time liberal trial lawyer has released some past tax returns
For 192 days liberal trial lawyer Bill White has failed to come clean with the people of Texas about how he has profited while serving the public by refusing to release his tax returns for his years in public service. If by midnight tonight Bill White does not release tax returns he filed while serving as Deputy Secretary of Energy (1993-1995) and Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party (1995-1998), because of his actions to hide his business dealings there will be no gubernatorial debate in 2010.
“When the clock strikes midnight, the people of Texas will unfortunately lose the opportunity to see the candidates debate because of Bill White’s lack of transparency and honesty,” said Texans for Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner. “Every time liberal Bill White has released some of his past tax returns, scandal has followed. The tax returns Bill White has released revealed that he profiteered following Hurricane Rita, he earned millions while mayor of Houston serving on the board of a company under investigation by Congress for lying to the EPA, and he was not being honest when he said he hadn’t made a penny from the company he formed to exploit his Washington contacts and do business in the Middle East. Why is Bill White still hiding the truth about his financial activity from the people of Texas?”
From Bill White Campaign
STATEMENT: Rick Perry’s refusal to debate
25-year incumbent hides from debates, editorial boards, tough questions
HOUSTON — Bill White today issued the following statement on Rick Perry’s refusal to debate, meet with editorial boards or answer tough questions about the $18 billion budget hole.
“There are 18 billion reasons why Rick Perry has decided not to debate. Debates are a means of accountability for voters, and Perry’s showing his true colors as a scripted professional politician who thinks he’s entitled to re-election,” said White. “I’ll debate him anywhere, anytime.”
“Rick Perry will say anything to get elected, but he won’t say it to Bill White’s face in a debate. He’s hoping to get by in a job interview on little feel-good soundbites,” said Katy Bacon, campaign spokesperson.
Bill White released all tax returns from his years as Houston’s mayor, just as Perry has released tax returns from his years in elected public office. While Bill White built businesses, Perry is a 25-year career politician.
“Bill White has released far more detailed information concerning his income than Rick Perry, and that’s not even a close question,” said Bacon.