(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama told a Dallas television reporter this week that Texas was historically a Republican state, even though the state--which was the home of the liberal Democratic icon Lyndon Johnson--was dominated by Democrats for most of its history and did not begin consistently voting Republican in presidential elections until 1980.
In an interview on Monday, WFAA-TV reporter Brad Watson asked Obama, “Why do you think you are so unpopular in Texas?”
“Well, look, Texas has always been a pretty Republican state, you know, for historic reasons,” Obama replied.
However, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office, which since 1848 has tracked every presidential election in the state’s history, the Democratic presidential nominee has won the vast majority of contests.
Through Jimmy Carter's election as president in 1976, Texas usually went Democratic in presidential contests. Obama would have been 14 years old when Carter took office.
It was not until 1980, when Ronald Reagan carried the state, that Texas began a decisive tilt towards Republican presidential candidates.
In 1848, Democratic candidate Lewis Cass beat Whig candidate Zachary Taylor to win Texas the first time the state was eligible to vote in a presidential election.
After that, Democrats won every presidential election in the state until 1928 when Texas went for Republican Herbert Hoover.
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was not even on the ballot in Texas, and the state was taken by John C. Breckenridge, the southern Democratic candidate. Texas, a slave state, then seceded from the Union.
Woodrow Wilson won Texas twice, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, perhaps the nation's most famous liberal Democratic president, won Texas four straight times. Twice in the 1950s, Dwight D. Eisenhower carried the state, and Republican President Richard Nixon won Texas in his 49-state landslide in 1972.
But it was not until 1980, when the state went to Republican Ronald Reagan, that Texas began consistently voting for Republican presidential candidates.
Obama also erred when he told the WFAA reporter he lost Texas “by a few percentage points” in the last election.
It was more like 10 points, reporter Brad Watson replied. In fact, Obama lost Texas by 11 points in 2008.
Obama bristled when Watson asked if political considerations played a part in NASA's decision to send all of the retiring space shuttles out of Texas, when Houston is the home of the Johnson Space Center – mission control for the shuttle program.
"The White House has nothing to do with” the decision, Obama said.
"So the shuttle was not awarded to Houston due to politics?" Watson asked.
"I just said that was wrong," Obama answered. "We had nothing to do with it, the White House had nothing to do with it -- there was a whole commission process, that's how the decision was made."
Obama emerged from the interview clearly annoyed with Watson: “Let me finish my answers the next time we do an interview, all right?" he hissed.