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Explosion in West, TX

Newspaper's cartoon on West irks Perry

Posted Saturday, Apr. 27, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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AUSTIN -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday that he's disgusted with a Sacramento Bee cartoon that depicts him boasting about business booming in his state and then shows an explosion, and says he wants an apology from the newspaper on behalf of a town where 15 people died in a fertilizer plant blast last week.

The cartoon in Thursday's edition shows Perry crowing that "Business is Booming," flanked by signs saying "Low Tax!" "'Low Regs!," a play on the Republican's often-repeated mantra that his state's low-regulation, business-friendly climate has its economy humming.

The next panel reads "Boom!" as a blast engulfs the area behind the governor and his signs.

The April 17 explosion in West, outside Waco, is estimated to have caused more than $100 million in damage.

In a letter to the Bee's editor, Perry said it "was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon."

"While I will always welcome healthy policy debate, I won't stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans," Perry wrote.

The Bee's editorial page editor, Stuart Leavenworth, responded Friday that the artist, Jack Ohman, "made a strong statement about Gov. Rick Perry's disregard for worker safety."

"What [Ohman] finds offensive is a governor who would gamble with the lives of families by not pushing for the strongest safety regulations," Leavenworth said.

The Sacramento Bee and the Star-Telegram are both owned by the McClatchy Co.

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