Entries in Martin Frost (2)


Texas Dem: Rick Perry Given ‘Free Ride’ as Governor

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Texas congressman Martin Frost, a Democrat, was ahead of the curve on Gov. Rick Perry. When Perry was first announcing his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination six months ago, Frost predicted a rough road for the Texas governor.

Frost pointed to Perry’s evolving position on whether gay marriage should be a states’ rights issue. On ABC’s Top Line political talk show Tuesday, Frost said the Texas media is largely to blame for giving Perry “a free ride” during his career as governor.

“What I think a lot of people didn’t realize is that Rick Perry has had a free ride from the local media  in Texas for the last 10 years, and so he’s not used to dealing with tough scrutiny, and that’s because newspapers have shrunk in Texas,” Frost, 69, said. “The major newspapers have laid off almost half of their staff. Television news has never been very aggressive in Texas, and so he’s now on a different playing field, and that was one of the things that I pointed out when he first announced his candidacy, that he was in the big leagues now and he wasn’t used to dealing in the big leagues.”

But Perry has a long career in Texas and has shown himself to be a political survivor. Frost said his survival, however, has been in Texas, which he described as “a very conservative state.”

“I wouldn’t write him off,” Frost said. “He still has a chance to come back, simply because the Republican electorate is so conservative, and if he can somehow go to school. If he can somehow learn about foreign policy, practice a little bit more for debates, he’s still a very viable candidate. And he can raise lots of money, but he’s on the ropes right now.

“And don’t look at the past, because -- remember his politics are pretty consistent with where Texas is politically, so it wasn’t surprising that he was able to come back in Texas.”

Perry survived a challenge by the popular moderate Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2010. But Frost said the national view that Perry was really challenged by Hutchison is incorrect.

“I don’t think he ever was really on the ropes there. His biggest problem is that he’s never really had to think about some of these national issues before,” said Frost, pointing to Perry’s odd answer to a foreign policy question at a debate in Florida Sept. 22.

“Clearly, his answer on foreign policy when he was asked about Pakistan was almost incoherent and a national candidate can’t do that. I’m not sure how he prepares himself,” Frost said. “I’m not sure what they do to educate him, to send him to school, but he’s got to be a lot better, and you can’t just say, ‘Oh, gee, I’m not a good debater.’ That doesn’t wash.

“The American people expect someone to be able to handle themselves. They don’t have to be brilliant. Ronald Reagan showed that he was a better debater than people thought. He wasn’t brilliant, by any means, but he was adequate and a little bit better than adequate, and that’s where Perry has got to get to pretty soon.”

Frost argued that debates scan be key, especially for candidates in a presidential race.

“People get so much of their information not just from watching a debate but watching the excerpts from the debate on the evening news  or on the morning news the next day,” he said. “That’s where people learn a lot about candidates. It may not be fair. It may not be the most equitable way to do things, but the average person sees 30 seconds or a minute from a debate and if those 30 seconds or a minute are deadly, that candidate’s got real problems.”

In terms of how Frost the Democrat thinks Perry would fair in the general election against President Obama, he said, “Oh, I think that Perry would be an easier candidate for [Team Obama] than Romney,” joking that Perry might be the one candidate Obama could beat.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Former Rep. Frost: ‘At Least Two’ New Texas Seats Will Go Democratic

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Texas was the big winner in the 2010 Census, with the latest count of the population set to deliver four additional House seats to the heavily Republican Lone Star State.

But that doesn’t necessarily straight GOP pick-ups in the 2012 congressional elections.

On ABC’s Top Line Thursday, former Rep. Martin Frost, D-Texas, who has focused extensively on census and redistricting matters for years, said that because so many of the new Texans are Latinos who tend to vote Democratic, Texas is likely to send several new Democrats to Congress.

“At least two of the seats are gonna be [majority] Hispanic -- might even be more than that, we'll see how it plays out. At least two, and maybe three” of the new seats are likely to be held by Democrats, Frost said.

He also added that Republicans will want to secure their recent gains in House races by putting more Republican-leaning voters in already GOP-held districts. And, he said, GOP lawmakers in Texas are limited in the gerrymandering they can pursue because of special oversight by the Justice Department, to ensure equal treatment of racial and ethnic minorities.

Frost cast skepticism on whether the legislative burst we’ve seen in late 2010 can carry over into 2011.

“I hope so, but with a Republican House, it's gonna be a lot harder to have real bipartisanship,” he said. “You still have a Democratic House here [in the lame-duck session of Congress] and so, this is gonna be much tougher. I hope it can happen, but I wouldn't bet too much on it.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio