SHOW: FOX SPECIAL REPORT WITH BRIT HUME (18:19)
HEADLINE: Texas Democrats Still Holding Out in Oklahoma Over Redistributing Issue
GUESTS: Rick Perry
BYLINE: Tony Snow, Brian Wilson, Rick Perry
SNOW: Congressional Democrats took to the House floor today to praise their colleaguesthat is Texans did in the Texas State legislature. That's because 51 Texas Democrats high tailed it out of the state this week and holed up in an Ardmore, Oklahoma hotel. The Democrats don't want to vote for a bill to carve out new congressional districts in the state.
PERRY: I don't think the people of the state of Texas appreciate the work stoppage, the walking away from the important issues of the day.
GALLEJO: You get to your point where you draw your line in sand and you a stand on principle.
PERRY: The Democratic process IS to debate them and vote them. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
GALLEJO: Broad consideration of the unnecessary and unfair redistricting effort, and we all go back to work immediately.
WILSON: In the fine tradition of colorful Texas politics a little fun was had around the way. Protesters showed up in Oklahoma carrying signs and a bag of poultry feed of what they call The Chicken Deves (ph). In the hotel's courtyard, Democratic staffers showed up a poster of the missing Democrats printed by GOP activists. Turns out one of the guys on the poster is actually a Republican.
This is a state battle with national implications. The redistricting plan is the brainchild of Tom DeLay, Republican majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. And this outrages Texas Democrats.
REP. BARRY TELFORD (D), TEXAS: Get your butt back to Washington.
WILSON: DeLay is actually in Washington now, but makes no apologies for his involvement.
REP. TOM DELAY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: Texas by all rights should have a Republican majority in this Congressional delegation.
WILSON (on camera): The Democrats are probably rethinking that decision to set up shop inside Oklahoma's Tornado Alley. At 3 a.m., the hotel sent around staffers to bang on doors and warn the Democrats that a tornado might be coming. For a while, one Democrat joked, he thought that federal agents were coming to get him and drag him back to Austin.
In Washington, Brian Wilson, Fox News.
SNOW: Now, for more on the saga of the Texas Democrats who vamoosed to Oklahoma; we're joined by the Governor of Texas, Republican Rick Perry.
Governor, welcome. Let's talk about your options.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Thank you, Tony.
SNOW: The redistricting bill expires midnight, tomorrow. Is there anything you the Republicans can do to force a vote on it?
PERRY: Well, unfortunately, it's not just a redistricting bill that perishes tomorrow night at midnight. It's about 233 major pieces of legislation, including things that will keep teachers from being assaulted byor protecting teachers from assault. It's some extraordinary legislation, dealing with insurance, federally qualified health clinics for the uninsured, and the poor in Texas.
Those are all going to die tomorrow, because there's some Democrats that think running off to Ardmore, Oklahoma is more important than being here working.
SNOW: Now as Governor, do you have any recourse? Can you call the legislature back? Or is that it?
PERRY: Well, obviously we are finished on June 2, with the regular session. One thing to keep in mind; we only have to work here, in Texas, in the legislative arena, 140 days every other year. You know that's not asking too much for the legislators; I don't think to come to work for 140 days every other year. And this session is over with on June 3.
Now, if we don't get a budget, if we don't pass mayor torte reform, which we were working towards in this state, if we don't get a homeowner's insurance bill that will help lower rates for homeowner's in this state, which we were getting very close to getting passed, because of the activity of these 51 Democrats. Then, I'll call them back. You bet. We'll be back here in special session.
But bottom line is, these people need to come on back and get back to work. I think that's what Texans asking to do, when they elected them. And they put their hand on the Bible, and Oath of Office that they were going to be here to uphold the constitution and the laws, in the state of Texas. Come on back, let's go to work.
SNOW: Now, there's some precedent for this. This so-called "Killer Bees" headed off, sometime ago. Texas Rangers were dispatched to pick them up. But I gather Oklahoma authorities are not working with you on this one.
PERRY: Well, that's correct. Andand when they cross the Red River, if they've gone to New Mexico or Louisiana, I think it's all the same. They thought it through pretty well. They wanted to shut down Texas State government. They've successfully done it for a little while. They've had their fun. They're up in Ardmore. They're having their press conferences.
But they're going to have to go home, and they're going to have to listen and explain to their constituencies: like that teacher who's not going to have protection from assault, like those individuals who don't have health insurance, that they're going to have to explain their actions to their constituents.
And I think the fun is going to go out of this pretty quick, when they come home, and they've got to explain to people why you couldn't do the job that we asked you to do.
SNOW: Now, Governor, one of the theories is that there are some Democratic sour grapes. Now, the first time in 130 years Republicans are in charge of the legislature in Texas. Is there anything that you think is possible, in terms of an olive branch to Democrats to get enough to come back and have a vote on redistricting, and as you pointed out, these 200- plus other bills?
PERRY: Look, there's not going to be any repercussions. Just come on back and go to work. The people of the state of Texas, the voters are the ones who get to do theany repercussion that might be forthcoming. And I think that's appropriate.
All I want them to do is come on back so we can work, we can pass legislation that's important. Let's get a budget done. Let's get all the issues that are on the table in front of us worked out. Get this legislative session on, and go home. If they want to spend the summer here, we can do that, too.
SNOW: Governor, this is all about congressional districts, though. So yes, you have these other measures, but the focal point appears to be congressional districts. Right now, Democrats have a majority of districts in Texas. How many counties within TexasI don't know if you know this offhand, are actually controlled right now by Democrats?
PERRY: Well, 17 of the 14 seats are controlled by Democrats, versus Republicans; but that'sthat's not the real issue here. Tomorrow, it will be the budget. The next day it will be something on healthcare. This is about principle and standing upit's like a child throwing a temper tantrum.
We've got to stand on principle and say listen, we're not going to pull down redistricting, just because you throw a temper tantrum, because tomorrow, it will be the budget. They won't be happy about the budget. We're going to stay here, and do the work of the people. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. That's the way democracy works.
SNOW: What do you think the political fallout is going to be?
PERRY: Well, that will be up to the voters out there. But I can tell you now; they may be reading a few news clips, and a few editorials, and newspapers somewhere that say oh, you all are doing great. Keep it up. They need to come home and listen to their constituents because I know what people are saying out there. And they do not understand why people duly elected, have run off to Oklahoma, hanging out at a Holiday Inn and eating over at Denny's, instead of being in Austin, Texas, doing the work of the people.
SNOW: So, Governor next year will this be a major campaign issue?
PERRY: Well, we'll just have to wait and see. But I know how to make it not an issue. Just come on back and let's go to work.
SNOW: All right. Governor Rick Perry, thank you very much for joining us.
PERRY: You're welcome. Good to be with you.
SNOW: Good to be with you. Based on what we're hearing, the Democrats aren't going to take you up on that offer. But good luck.