President Barack Obama "has put a target on Texas' back" and illustrated it by not mentioning NASA's sprawling Johnson Space Center in Houston while announcing new space agency initiatives in Florida, Gov. Rick Perry said Saturday.
Appearing at Texas Motor Speedway to promote his 2010 gubernatorial campaign's sponsorship of a car in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race, Perry said it was "very disconcerting" that Obama talked about adding jobs at the Kennedy Space Center without addressing Texas, where missions are directed after liftoff.
"The message there was, 'You're from Texas. We don't care about you,"' Perry said. "I tell people this president has put a target on Texas' back. Whether it's programs that he's talked about from the standpoint of making Texas an example, if you will. And I don't appreciate it."
His comments were his latest criticism of Obama amid growing speculation that the longest-serving governor in Texas history might consider a run for president in 2012.
Perry, who is set to appear on the cover of an upcoming issue of Newsweek, has steadfastly said he's not interested in running for president. Experts have said his frequent criticisms leveled at Washington suggest otherwise.
He struck a similar theme Saturday during an appearance with Bobby Labonte, a Texas-raised driver whose No. 71 will carry Perry's campaign Web site on each side and have the governor's last name in large block letters on the hood.
"If Washington wants to get it right, come down to Texas and we'll show you," Perry said. "It's pretty simple, actually. Don't spend all the money."
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Former astronauts and others have criticized Obama for temporarily abandoning manned space flight without a clear timeline for a return. Bill White, the Democratic former Houston mayor who will oppose Perry in November, is among those urging Obama to reconsider, telling the president in a letter last month such a plan was "a step in the wrong direction."
White subsequently praised the administration's plan to rescue the Orion crew capsule, a small part of a moon program that was otherwise nixed by Obama after being promoted in the final years of President George W. Bush's term.
Rather than go to the moon, the Orion capsule would serve as an emergency escape pod for the International Space Station.
"High-paying, quality jobs should and will stay in Texas because of the revised plans for the Orion capsule and the International Space Station," White said earlier in the week.