The Brief: Top Texas News for Aug. 1, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry speaks to the press after leaving a school finance meeting between leaders in the House and Senate May 27, 2011.
Gov. Rick Perry speaks to the press after leaving a school finance meeting between leaders in the House and Senate May 27, 2011.

The Big Conversation:

Many Iowans watching Fox News will get their first taste of Rick Perry today.

Politico reported Sunday night that a new super PAC called Jobs for Iowa will begin airing a TV ad today in Iowa that hails the still-not-yet-running governor as the only presidential candidate "with a real record of creating jobs."

The PAC, unaffiliated with Perry, paid less than $40,000 to run the spot on Fox News for two weeks. The ad calls Perry "the leader of a state … with no state income tax and no deficit [and] a decade of balanced budgets."

According to Politico, the group of wealthy Texas Republicans rumored to have formed the group is looking to run more ads in South Carolina and Florida after Labor Day, by which point Perry will likely have announced his candidacy.

News of of the ad comes a day after Perry placed a distant second at the Denver Straw Poll behind Herman Cain, the former Godfather's Pizza executive turned GOP presidential candidate. Perry received 13 percent of the vote to Cain's 48 percent.

At the Western Conservative Summit, where the straw poll took place, Perry also drew the most pointed criticism he's received yet from a Republican presidential candidate. As the Tribune's Jay Root reported, Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, slammed Perry multiple times for saying recently that from a states' rights standpoint, he was "fine" with New York's new law legalizing gay marriage.

“States do not have the right to destroy the American family. It is our business,’’ Santorum told a group of conservative activists. “It is not fine with me that New York has destroyed marriage. It is not fine with me that New York is setting a template that will cause great division in this country.”

Perry later addressed the issue in his speech to the audience. "You know I said the other day that the 10th Amendment frees New York State to define marriage as they please, but the traditional definition suits Texas and this governor just fine," he said.

Since his original comment about New York, Perry has reiterated his support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Culled:

  • Americans for Rick Perry, another so-called super PAC that has formed in support but independently of the governor, raised $193,000 in the last 10 days of June, according to campaign finance filings. Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons contributed $100,000, the largest donation the group received.
  • A ruling issued Friday by Attorney General Greg Abbott may have ended the storied Cameron Todd Willingham case, which in recent years has stirred debate over the fire science used to sentence Willingham to death. Abbott's ruling constrains the state's Forensic Science Commission, which Abbott ruled had no authority to consider evidence in cases from before 2005.
  • School performance plunged dramatically this year, according to ratings the state released Friday. Due largely to a change in the formula used to calculate the ratings, as the Houston Chronicle notes, the number of schools rated academically unacceptable has increased fivefold.

"I, the Lord God of heaven, call upon the court to cease this prosecution against my pure, holy way. ... I shall let all peoples know of your unjust way. ... I shall send a scourge upon the counties of prosecutorial zeal to be humbled by sickness and death." — Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs in a San Angelo courtroom on Friday

Must-Read:

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