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HOUSTON -- Gov. Rick Perry gave the Houston business
community an update on Texas' economy Tuesday in a speech titled
State of the State, prompting his Democratic opponent to accuse
him of using his government office for political gain.

Just 21 days before the Nov. 2 election, Perry and Democrat Bill
White are campaigning around the vast state they want to run, using
every opportunity to push their agenda, praise their achievements
and slam one another. Perry is running for his third full term in
office and faces the Democrats' most promising challenger in years.

Speaking to the Greater Houston Partnership at a luncheon on
Tuesday, Perry repeated his mantra that Texas has weathered the
recession better than any other state, brushing off the name of the
speech -- usually reserved for an official address to the state
Legislature -- as semantics.

I'll let the name of the address stand on its own. What is the
state of our state at this particular point in time and I think I
laid that out in there, Perry said.

White, meanwhile, sent his campaign staff to the event to
redistribute a list of questions they accuse Perry of avoiding,
including what he will do about Texas' unemployment rate, which in
August at 8.3 percent was lower than the nation's figure of 9.6
percent but higher than the state's has been in years. White said
the unemployment rate is nearly double what it was when his
Republican opponent took office a decade ago.

He's using these groups as a political stage right before an
election, White said of Perry.

The Texas unemployment rate is higher than in neighboring
state. Rick Perry wants to go around the state creating the
illusion of prosperity.

Perry touted the record of the Texas Enterprise Fund and the
Emerging Technology Fund, created to lure jobs and high-tech
companies to Texas. Perry said fund moneys were used to attract one
of the premier cancer researchers to Houston and to lure others
away from Tulane University.

But the fund has come under fire since the Dallas Morning News
reported it doled out more than $16 million to high-tech startups
whose investors are big donors to Perry. White repeated his
allegation Tuesday that Perry has misused his authority when
awarding grants from these funds and demanded an independent audit
of the programs. He called on Perry to remove himself from all
decisions involving the Enterprise Fund and the Emerging Technology
Fund.

False the first time he said it, false the third time, false
the 100th time that Bill White would say that, Perry fired back.

The business men and women in this state understand that that
Emerging Technology Fund has been a great success story and trying
to connect dots that aren't there may make for interesting
political theater but there's no there there. We're creating jobs,
we're creating wealth, we're moving the state forward.

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