Turning their attention to the top dog in the GOP presidential primaries, President Obama's team is starting to mess with Texas, dismissing Gov. Rick Perry's jobs "miracle" and instead saying his state is home to low-wage and deadly jobs.
"I've spent some time out in Texas and there's some great concerns that I have with respect to worker protection," said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
What's more, she said, "they have different scales of pay, it's a right to work state," a charge often echoed by Big Labor which has been critical of low wages in the Lone Star state. [Read: Rick Perry's 4 Economic Vulnerabilities.]
Perry has made his nation-leading employment surge over the past 10 years a key factor in his presidential bid. Federal figures show that some 4 of every 10 jobs created in recent years has occurred in Texas, home to the still growing oil industry.
But Solis focused on job safety, the state's wages and education challenges when asked about the Texas jobs record. She noted that Labor held a safety meeting in Texas about a year and a half ago and that over 1,000 people attended, about 950 more than she expected. [See photos of Republican contenders on the campaign trail.]
"It struck me that there's a lot of need in Texas and that's not even addressing the educational issues that I know they are faced with there as well," she said.
But while aware of the safety, wage and educational figures, the labor secretary wasn't up on reports Texas was the nation's jobs engine. "I haven't done a lot of research in terms of economic growth in Texas," she said.
That prompted Perry's spokesman, Mark Miner, to tell Whispers: "Interesting, considering we use her department's numbers to show that almost 40 percent of all new jobs created in the U.S. since June 2009 were created in Texas. Her numbers also show that 95 percent of all jobs in Texas are above minimum wage. The Secretary may want to look at her department's own data."