Come and take it! Perry fights attacks Texas style

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Rick Perry is governor of a state with a multibillion-dollar & growing budget shortfall. The EPA wants to strip the state's power to police its air quality.

He's the butt of jokes for spending tens of thousands of tax dollars to rent a swanky house. But that's not hampering his campaign for a historic third 4-year term as governor.

He has the "Marlboro Man" looks and easy comfort in cowboy gear that plays well in the television ads that highlight campaigns in an immense state of 24 million people. So far, Perry's used his place as the state's top Texan to brush off the bad news.

The sober message from the campaign of Democratic challenger Bill White about the governor's failings isn't yet enough to knock Perry from his perch as the November favorite.