Dueling takes on Gammage's announcement
Gubernatorial candidate Bob Gammage took aim at Gov. Rick Perry and President Bush this morning but said little about his opponents in the Democratic primary as he launched a three-day swing around the state to draw attention to his fledgling campaign.Second take is from the AP:
Gammage stopped in an airport terminal with Ben Grant, a former lawmaker and judge who is running for lieutenant governor, in embattled Republican U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's hometown. Gammage used to represent the area in Congress.
"I have a son who just returned from Baghdad," said Gammage, a former Supreme Court justice, congressman and state representative. "He did his duty, and I'm going to do mine. Duty requires us to tell the truth. The truth is that Rick Perry is failing Texas. The bitter truth is that George Bush is failing us, too."
Gammage and Grant are talking up their role in the Dirty 30, a group of state lawmakers who pushed for ethics reform in the early 1970s.
As he did when he announced his candidacy, he brought along a photo of a yacht to draw attention to Perry's 2004 trip to the Bahamas to discuss school finance reform. Perry made the trip with, among others, anti-tax guru Grover Norquist and James Leininger, a heavyweight GOP campaign donor who supports allowing students to use public money to attend private schools.
Gammage listed among his priorities clean air and water, ethics reform, stronger corporate regulations, prescription-drug price relief, affordable health insurance and fair funding for schools.
Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Bob Gammage launched his campaign for governor Monday, ignoring his opponents in the March Democratic primary election and instead targeting Republican Gov. Rick Perry."Stand up and speak out" about Washington policies? That's an interesting line.
Gammage, who was a member of the "Dirty 30" state legislators known for battling corruption in the early 1970s, called Perry a weak leader who can't fight corruption or solve the state's problems. He said his campaign would focus on "the corrupt out-of-control political machine that stretches all the way from Washington, D.C., to Austin, Texas."
Gammage, 67, linked Perry to U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, whose legal problems prompted him Saturday to permanently relinquish his majority leader's post.
"Tom DeLay is at one end and Rick Perry is at the other," Gammage said during a news conference in DeLay's congressional district that Gammage once represented.
A spokesman for Perry's campaign called Gammage's remarks "hollow criticism."
Gammage, who was beginning a four-day, 13-city campaign tour, has served in the Legislature and the U.S. House, and has been an appellate and state Supreme Court justice.
"We need a governor strong enough to stand up and speak out when Washington policies are hurting ordinary Texans," Gammage said. He said Perry is a "weak governor with a record of failure" on school finance, the environment, tax policy and health care, Gammage said.
Gammage displayed a photo of a luxury yacht similar to one Perry visited in the Bahamas with contributors to discuss school finance reform.
"I'm running against government conducted from yachts," Gammage said. "I will not make policy as governor of Texas from the Bahamas. I'll do it from the state capitol in Austin."
Perry spokesman Robert Black noted that the Texas Ethics Commission cleared Perry of any wrongdoing on the Bahamas trip.
"It's very easy to criticize, but leaders actually produce solutions," Black said. "Bob Gammage is offering little more than hollow criticism."
Gammage promised to raise the minimum wage to $6.50 an hour, amend the state constitution to guarantee the right to clean air and water, pass ethics reform and corporate responsibility acts, reform the Texas tax code, regulate prescription drug costs, guarantee fair funding for Texas school districts and work with Congress on affordable health care.
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