AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Republican governor of Texas was on the tarmac at noon Thursday to greet the Democratic president of the United States at Austin Bergstrom International Airport.
When President Barack Obama emerged from Air Force One, he and Gov. Rick Perry shook hands and chatted as they walked to visit with the crowd assembled at ABIA.
The visit by the president is the official start of his "Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour," and Perry earlier praised the White House for choosing Texas as the launch site.
"I think it's a good place for the president to come to see how you create an environment where jobs can flourish," Perry told reporters at the Texas Capitol on Wednesday. "If the president is serious about creating jobs in this country then Texas is the blueprint."
Perry, who was among the crowded field of Republicans who wanted the chance to challenge Obama in 2012, made clear that while he shares the president's goals, he has little use for the approach.
"I'm a big believer that freedom will always prevail and freedom from taxation, freedom from over-regulation, freedom from over-litigation, that's what will prevail in America," Perry said. "And the party that is more inclined to be about freedom is the Republican Party."
Obama, who is due to arrive at 12:15 p.m., has been to Austin several times since becoming a national figure in 2007 and generally receives a warm welcome in one of Texas' rare Democratic strongholds. In may 2011, Perry greeted the president at ABIA and attempted to hand him a letter seeking more help securing the Texas-Mexico border, but Obama had an aide accept the envelope instead.
Since the 2012 campaign, the president's political machinery has been retooled, and part of its mission is to stretch his party's reach to other regions of the Lone Star State.
Perry thinks the effort will fall well short of the mark in the state he's governed since December 2000.
"We have been a red state for the last decade," he said. "We're leading the nation in the creation of jobs. We're leading the nation economically. So, your common sense tells you, if you're going to come to the state of Texas and point us out as a model, you're going to have to be for Republican policies."
The University of Texas Board of Regents adjourned Thursday without taking action on the job status of embattled UT President Bill Powers.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since reports surfaced this week that he could be stepping down.
Two men were arrested and a third was being sought by police for the shooting death of 47-year-old Russell Martens.
After two hours of discussion regarding the final design for Auditorium Shores, the Austin City Council decided to approve the design on a vote of 7-0 with amendments.
Despite what seemed like a surge of controversies, the Austin Aquarium opened its doors to members Thursday for a private pre-entry showing.
One person was killed Thursday in a rollover crash near Cedar Creek, the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office said.