Tom Schieffer Throws Hat into Gubernatorial Ring

Schieffer files papers to form exploratory committee to run for Texas governor.

Today, significantly Texas Independence Day and the birthday of Sam Houston, former Ambassador Tom Schieffer of Fort Worth officially announced in Austin Monday that he might run for governor if he receives positive results from his newly commissioned exploratory committee.

Framing his speech with the ethos of courageous soldiers and the venerable character of Sam Houston, he pointed at a "crisis of leadership" as the reason Texas is currently floundering in the midst of new, more complex challenges.

He also presented himself as a person whose great experience abroad has provided him with a unique global perspective that could help Texas compete with the world for jobs and in education.

"For the last eight years I have been serving my country abroad as an Ambassador of the United States, and while I returned to Texas dozens of times during that time it pains me to say that the perception of Texas abroad is not what we in Texas want it to be.   Texas to foreigners is often a place where J. R. Ewing and the fictional characters of the old TV series Dallas are thought to be real. We need to change that," Schieffer said.

He will form an exploratory committee that will allow him to seek the Democratic Nomination for governor of Texas and will travel the state for the next few months gathering feedback from people about whether they would support his candidacy. 

Schieffer has received a great deal of criticism for his close ties with President George W. Bush and doubt as to whether he could overcome that stigma with Democrats. Most Democrats will remember, though scoffing at the conjecture hurled at Obama for his dealings with alleged terrorist Bill Ayers, knowing association does not mean shared ideals and every president appoints people from opposing parties to offices.

Candidates must cast their official bids with the Democratic Party by Jan. 2. It might take that long for Democrats to wrap their heads around the fact that they might be choosing between Kinky Friedman and an out-of-the-blue candidate about whom little is known beyond his associations with Bush.

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