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Perry Hand-Delivers Letter to Obama Aide

Details emerge after Austin airport meeting

By Eric Kreindler and Omar Villafranca
|  Monday, Aug 9, 2010  |  Updated 10:38 PM CDT
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<a title=Republican Governor Rick Perry has hand-delivered a letter to President Barack Obama warning about the "dire threat" from drug violence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Perry actually handed the letter to Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett after greeting Obama at the airport in Austin." />

KXAN

Republican Governor Rick Perry has hand-delivered a letter to President Barack Obama warning about the "dire threat" from drug violence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Perry actually handed the letter to Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett after greeting Obama at the airport in Austin.

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry hand-delivered a letter to a President Barack Obama aide warning about the "dire threat" from drug violence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Perry, dressed in a tan suit and cowboy boots, handed the letter to Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett on Monday after greeting Obama at the airport in Austin.

"What I'm surprised (at) is that we couldn't find a time while he was in town to actually sit down and speak a little bit longer than being just at the foot of the steps," Perry said later Monday. "But anyway, I guess I should look at it like, 286 troops is a good start. It's not where we need to be, but hopefully he will read the letter and respond appropriately."

Perry, a Republican, clapped when Obama descended from Air Force One and then shook hands with the Democratic president.

Obama was in Texas for fundraisers and a speech to students at the University of Texas.

In his letter, Perry said there was "mounting evidence of spillover violence" from Mexico and asked Obama to send more resources to the region to "step up and finally do what is needed to secure our borders."

The meeting came before the president attended a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano sent a letter to Governor Perry shortly Obama announced the number of troops that would be sent to the border. Perry publicly noted that the number of troops heading to the Texas border wasn't enough.

A White House official, speaking on background, said Perry declined a top-level National Security Council briefing to discuss border security. The conversation took place between White House officials and Ray Sullivan, Perry's chief of staff.

Katherine Cesinger, a Perry spokeswoman, confirmed the conversation, but said Perry is more interested in action on the border rather than meetings.

"More briefings aren't going to secure the border," she said.

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