The Brief: Top Texas News for Nov. 22, 2010

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

If Gov. Rick Perry's sick of the speculation, he's not showing it.

During his latest interview, Perry, on Fox News Sunday, buoyantly insisted — yet again — that he has no plans to run for president.

Host Chris Wallace asked the governor if he had to make that commitment to the Republican Governors Association, which he was last week elected to lead.

"Oh, I've made that commitment every time I've been asked, and that commitment still stands," Perry answered. "I don't want to be the president of the United States. I do want to work with these governors across the country to make the states more pivotal, more powerful, as they should be."

The governor also went back to a number of lines he's made familiar during his recent media tour, calling Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" and criticizing "strings that are attached from the federal dollars that come down here in our Medicaid programs."

But talk also turned to Texas, with Wallace questioning Perry about the state's budget shortfall. Perry, who's been disputing projected shortfall amounts for months, bristled at Wallace's mention of the widely assumed $25 billion figure.

"Chris, you got a better crystal ball than anybody down here, unless you're just throwing numbers at the wall. And with all due respect, that number will not be known until January when our comptroller does make the official estimate," Perry said. 

As for fixes, he said, "We've done this before when we've had to make the tough decisions in the state of Texas. We're not going to raise taxes. We're going to reduce spending. And I will tell you at the end of the day Texas will be better off, Texans will be better off, and we will continue to lead the nation in the creation of jobs and wealth, and this country will be better off from it."

 CULLED:

  • Closing arguments will be heard today in Tom DeLay's money-laundering trial. The former U.S. House majority leader faces a possible life sentence if convicted.
  • Officials will likely complete a ballot recount today in the race between incumbent Democrat Solomon Ortiz and Republican Blake Farenthold in Congressional District 27. With only absentee ballots left to count, Farenthold leads by about 800 votes, about the same spread reported on Election Day.

"For too long, we've forsaken what our Judeo-Christian heritage has been. Our rights do come from God, not from government." — State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, who has filed a bill that would allow schoolteachers to display the Ten Commandments in their classrooms

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