The Brief: Top Texas News for July 2, 2010

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

He may be able to stay on message politically, but Gov. Rick Perry might still have something to learn when it comes to staying on topic on the phone.

Perry told reporters Thursday that he'd spoken by phone on Wednesday with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who grew irritated when he redirected a conversation about Hurricane Alex toward border issues.

"She was a little testy," he said.

Perry's faux pas came a day before President Obama delivered his first major speech on immigration. That's right: Immigration, in the national conversation. Cue a chorus of Texas politicians, who rushed Thursday to either deride the president for what they called his inaction on the issue up to this point or to praise Obama's push for comprehensive overhaul. All, Republicans and Democrats, seemingly agreed that the system is broken.

In a statement, Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn characterized the president's efforts as a "charade":

President Obama promised the American people that he would make immigration reform a priority during his first year in office. Eighteen months into his presidency, he continues to deliver words, but no action.

President Obama said he and Congressional Democrats are ready to move forward, but the only legislation they've moved forward are partisan bills to increase spending, take over our health care system, and bail out Wall Street.

But Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez applauded the president for seeking a bipartisan solution:

President Obama made a profound case to move forward on immigration reform, with an emphasis on the importance of a comprehensive solution. Piecemeal legislation will not help solve the root of this issue. As it may be easier to settle for individual pieces of legislation, we must focus on the larger issue at hand: our entire system is broken.

We need a bipartisan effort in order to have a comprehensive solution that works in the best interest of our entire nation, promotes our economy and makes for a stronger society that shares the common values of hard work and dedication to family.

Perry echoed Cornyn's calls for action: "I'm tired of Washington, D.C., giving lip service to a major, major problem in securing our border, whether it's the president or whether it's Congress," he told reporters. "They need to get off their high horse and come from Washington, D.C., and see what's going on on this border."

CULLED:

  • The Kerrville branch of the League of Women Voters will host gubernatorial candidates Bill White and Libertarian Katherine Glass at a forum Monday. Gov. Rick Perry, who still maintains that he won't debate White until he releases his complete tax returns, will be a no-show.
  • The National Republican Campaign Committee will launch an ad over the weekend attacking Democratic U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards for his role in the House budget process, CQ Politics reports.
  • The Austin American-Statesman has more on those speaker's race rumblings and Joe Straus' potential vulnerability. "He's bending over backwards for people who are never, ever going to support him," one lawmaker tells the Statesman.

“We’ve lost a giant. Texas has lost one of its great leaders, and I’ve lost a dear friend.” — Former Gov. Mark White on fellow former Gov. Dolph Briscoe, whose funeral was held Thursday

MUST-READ:

Can Texas Democrats Ride a Ticket Led by White? — The Texas Tribune

Firms offering to help clean up gulf oil spill pitch to media, lawmakersThe Dallas Morning News

21 killed in Mexican gang shootout near US border — The Associated Press

Perry says he works 24/7, despite bare schedule — The Texas Tribune

State panel audits contracts after questions about Irving lawmaker's use of carThe Dallas Morning News

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