"There is a fine line between expressing one's political opinions and offensive speech officially sanctioned by the State of Texas on license plates," said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. "The state doesn't want to be liable for confrontations resulting from unhappy drivers who see messages offensive to them. Some motorists who see these plates would smile but others would be angry. The state has an obligation to vet these (before) any possible trouble arises."
"The comforter-in-chief role of the president takes precedence during these heightened moments. Because of the gravity of the situation at Fort Hood, all eyes are on that [memorial] event," said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston who specializes in presidential leadership. "The problem for the president is if there's an empathy gap. If it begins to appear he doesn't care about national security, doesn't care about the nation's veterans, it starts to hurt his credibility."