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Gov. Rick Perry sees Texas wildfires as statewide emergency. FEMA doesn't?

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"We expect the [disaster declaration] to be going through approval, but we have not received it yet," says Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for Perry. In the meantime, she adds, "Texas continues to pull all resources available toward fighting these fires, and we're doing everything at the state level to continue fighting this and ensure that we protect property in Texas as best as possible."

Though the governor of red-state Texas and President Obama are perhaps not the best of friends, there's no evidence that politics is behind the delay. Moreover, the US Forest Service is fully involved in supporting the Texas firefighting.

Still, some note, North Carolina received a presidential disaster declaration on April 20, four days after a rash of tornadoes tore through that state. Similarly, it took President Bush four days after the October 2007 California wildfires began burning to declare it a national emergency.

"There's two reasons why I don't think there's any political footdragging," says Bruce Buchanan, a political scientist at the University of Texas, in Austin. "One, it's not Obama's style, and, two, it would be a politically costly thing to do when Americans are in danger."

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