The Brief for June 21, 2010

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

It was the cluck heard 'round the world.

Well, not really. But that moment last week in which a man in a chicken suit overtook the conversation in the governor's race may have marked a turning point in the fight between Gov. Rick Perry and Bill White.

Now, surely, the chicken wasn't singlehandedly responsible — and Perry, polls indicate, still holds a comfortable-enough lead over White among Texas voters. Rather, the rally — at which Perry spokesman Mark Miner, with props in tow, delivered a press conference in front of White's Austin headquarters — came just as White, facing allegations of profiteering from hurricane-relief operations, was ratcheting up attacks on Perry's leadership style.

Heading into the state Democratic convention this weekend in Corpus Christi, White, as the Austin American-Statesman notes, has shifted toward more personal attacks on Perry's work ethic and so-called taste for luxury. White on Friday targeted the governor's taxpayer-funded use of a $9,000-per-month rental home, telling reporters he would call a double-wide trailer home if elected. White's camp has also hit Perry on what it calls his light work load: $428.57 — that's how much White spokeswoman Katy Bacon has said the state is paying "Part-Time Perry" (the campaign's current favorite Perry moniker) per hour for his work in office.

 

"When you combine the drag of the national Democratic Party and President Obama here on the vote in Texas, and the fact that the majority of Texas voters are in agreement with Rick Perry on policy, there's only so much that Bill White can do with a policy approach," Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University, told the Statesman.

The White team, too, may be buoyed this week by a Rasmussen Reports poll released Friday that showed the governor's lead over his Democratic opponent having slipped 5 points since May.

The race, though, may see even more fireworks this week with Perry re-entering the action as he returns from China, where he was touting Texas business last week.

Whatever the case, hope for a little drama, which this weekend's Democratic convention, as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes, may be lacking.

CULLED:

  • State Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, under fire for driving a Mercedes owned by a company that does big business with the state, says she's the victim of attacks from "Washington, D.C., liberals."
  • According to a new report, Texas will only see more unemployment, poverty and incarceration in the future if things keep up the way they are. But it's not a complete bummer: There are solutions.
  • As Republicans continue to recoup after Thursday's ApologyGate, some see shades of GOP honesty in the incident.

"That's like a golfer thinking on the 16th hole, 'What's it going to look like on the 18th hole?' You've got to stay in the moment on these things. I went to bed every night going through exactly the kind of evaluative process I've been trying to describe." — University of Texas President William Powers Jr. on his decision-making process that put UT on a path toward staying in the Big 12

MUST-READ:

Dallas County DA Craig Watkins launches re-election campaignThe Dallas Morning News

State GOP chief tackles party's big debtHouston Chronicle

Tax breaks Americans savor are costing Uncle Sam bigThe Dallas Morning News

At Camp Mabry, training will help bring Iraq war to an endAustin American-Statesman

 

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