Gov. Rick Perry may be in the habit of extolling the virtues of Texas
throughout the country -- or at least to business-hostile states -- but
according to at least one notoriously loud, vulgar, angry and comedic voice, his
message isn't welcome.
Last month, Perry visited California, Connecticut and New York to tell the "Texas success story" and entice businesses to move to the Lone Star State, Perry spokesman Josh Havens explained.
The campaign, sponsored by the public-private partnership TexasOne, put out TV and radio ads in which Perry pointed out difficulties with each state's business climate, then explained how Texas was different.
New York, for example, is "a hard place to do business," a woman says in a Perry ad; others complained that they couldn't afford to hire employees. "NY (hearts) regulations," a frame of the ad reads.
His message enraged comedian Lewis Black, who delivered one of his trademark tirades on the subject of New York vs. Texas during his Back in Black segment on the "Daily Show" on Wednesday night.
"Texas is calling? Well good thing I've got caller ID. ... We may all come from different places, but we all agree on one thing: (Expletive) you, Texas," Black says, his message then repeated in different languages by a variety of presumed New Yorkers.
One man with a thick Yankee accent invoked a San Antonio icon of freedom in his message to Perry: "Remember the Alamo? Neither do we. (Expletive) Texas."
Soon after, NYmiddlefingerTX.com debuted, "for and by New Yorkers who think Texas blows," it had been "liked" nearly 18,000 times on Facebook. The hashtag #nymiddlefingertx wasn't trending on Twitter, but did got plenty of attention, mostly by people who sang the praises of Black's segment.
Havens said the governor had no comment on the comedian's remarks.
Former Perry chief of staff and campaign communications director Ray Sullivan said that despite its mocking tone, Black's segment still may help Perry, who has said he won't seek re-election as governor but hasn't announced whether he'll run again for president.
"However ridiculous his diatribe may have been, it underscores that Gov. Perry's message is breaking through," Sullivan said. "While that drives liberals crazy, it does help deliver the message to entrepreneurs and business leaders who feel overburdened by taxes and regulations in big liberal states."
University of Texas at Austin political science professor Sean Theriault agreed.
"It's kind of an escalation in this whole Texas-vs.-the-U.S.-banter," he said. "Texas certainly has been in the national news for a variety of different things lately, and this certainly provides a megaphone for Perry's message."
Even the eclectic Texan Kinky Friedman, who ran against Perry in 2006 and hasn't yet decided if he'll throw his hat into the governor's race in 2014, liked Black's sketch.
"I've always said the only difference between Texas and New York is the difference between horse manure and pigeon manure," Friedman said by phone. "The people (Perry) is convincing to come down here are people we probably don't want. That's some of the best commentary I've ever heard from Lewis Black."
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