President Barack Obama called Texas Governor Rick Perry today and told him the federal government will assist state and local emergency officials dealing with wildfires sweeping the state, the White House said.
The men spoke hours before Perry was to make his debut Republican presidential debate appearance in Simi Valley, California, along with seven other contenders seeking the nomination to challenge Obama in the 2012 general election. Perry missed a candidate forum on Sept. 5 in South Carolina to get back to Texas to deal with the wildfires that have scorched thousands of acres in central Texas.
Obama offered condolences for Texans who died in the fires, according to an administration statement. After the call, Obama directed his national security staff to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Forest Service and state officials “to ensure we were making all resources available,” the statement said.