Rick Perry and Barack Obama finally had a face-to-face meeting as the border crisis continued, but it left the Texas governor unimpressed. Obama told Perry to get Republicans to back his $3.7 billion funding request, but again declined to make the trip to the border for himself to see the situation for himself. Perry told CBS News’ Major Garrett that Obama attempted to shrug off the trip by stressing that he’s sent aides to see the situation, a claim that Perry says does not demonstrate leadership, especially in a crisis. Americans expect their President to show up — and cites the Hurricane Katrina example that many have come to use as a measuring stick:
Perry told CBS News that Americans need to see their president on the border.
“The first thing I asked him when I sat on Marine One was, ‘I hope you’ll come to the border.’ And he responded and said, ‘Hey, listen, my guys have been down there six times.’ Your guys are one thing, but you’re another,” Perry said.
He said if the president visited the border, Americans would feel like he cared about what was going on there.
“That’s what presidents do. That’s what leaders do. They show up,” he said. “They interact and they see for themselves what’s going on so I think it is very important for him.” …
Perry warned the border situation could spin out of control, and evoked memories of federal mismanagement after Hurricane Katrina.
“As I recall President Bush got chastised greatly for not showing up in New Orleans when Katrina occurred,” Perry said.
“The parallel for me is that when we know a hurricane is coming, we put things into place so that we can deal with it,” he said. “I have told this administration and others have told this administration for years that this was exactly what was going to happen.”
On the funding request, Perry hasn’t taken the bait from Obama, and so far neither have Republicans on Capitol Hill. They are working on their own emergency funding bill to address the situation, but Senator Marco Rubio’s comments to me yesterday show that they are taking Obama’s request with a significant amount of skepticism. “Very little of it is for actual improvements on the border,” Rubio explained. “There’s even money in there to deal with wildfires, things of that nature.” Some of the money that is earmarked for short-term care of the children will likely remain, but expect Republicans to offer a bill that shows up at the border in a figurative sense more than Obama has in any sense.
Perry also finds some agreement on CNN this morning, as Noah noted earlier, but it’s worth another look. Noting the substantial symbolic nature of the presidency, John King’s panel also expects to see the President show up in a crisis. They also scoffed at Obama’s sudden disdain for photo ops:
“I’m not interested in photo-ops” should qualify as a fact-check highlight for 2014, if not a finalist for Lie of the Year.
Update: Well, maybe Obama should have embargoed the photo op here:
"Then I said — get this — I said, 'I'm not interested in photo opps.' Good one, eh?" pic.twitter.com/36U6HQYtWv
— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) July 10, 2014
Well, sure. Most of the rest of us laughed at that too.