The Brief: Top Texas News for June 14, 2012

The Big Conversation:

Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday upped his praise for former rival Mitt Romney, even suggesting that he could break Democrats' grip on the Hispanic vote.

On Wednesday, during a live taping of Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, a video series produced by the Hoover Institution, Perry dismissed polls showing President Barack Obama handily leading Romney among Hispanics.

“You can spin it as many ways as you want, but at the end of the day, this administration that is currently in power has America on a downward trajectory — no sugarcoating it,” Perry told Robinson, a former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan. “Whether you're Hispanic or African-American, is that the way you want this country to go? I would suggest it will be an overwhelming no."

Asked to defend his endorsement of Romney, Perry said: “We need a president that respects the 10th Amendment and Constitution, and starts rolling back programs imposed on the state. President Romney is going to roll back Obamacare.”

 

In an interview that covered religion, the Texas economy and the role of the federal government, among other topics, Perry also disputed predictions that Texas would begin to vote Democratic as the state's Hispanic population grows.

“We will become majority Hispanic, but they will become Republicans,” Perry said. “When you delve into the character of Hispanics in Texas, these individuals are incredibly patriotic. When we look at the young men and women serving our country, we see a substantial number of Hispanics. You see people with strong familial ties and values of the Catholic church that are very much in line with the values of the Republican Party.”

The Texas Democratic Party begged to differ. "I think without a doubt that Texas will become a Democratic state, and that's because people are feeling the consequences of devastating Republican policies," party spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña told the Tribune.

Culled:

  • Barack Obama will visit San Antonio on July 17 for two private fundraising events, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Though the announcement of the event included no word of visits to any other Texas cities, volunteers have indicated that Obama may swing through Austin, Dallas and Houston sometime this summer.
  • The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has brought formal doping charges against Lance Armstrong, imperiling his seven Tour de France titles, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. In a letter outlining the allegations, the agency wrote that blood samples it collected from Armstrong in 2009 and 2010 were "fully consistent with blood ma­nipu­la­tion including EPO use and/or blood transfusions." Armstrong on Wednesday rebuked the charges. "I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one," he said in a statement.
  • Texas has eclipsed California as the state with the largest prisoner population, according to The Associated Press. California held the title for years, but a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court decision on prison overcrowding has moved many criminals in the state to county jails. California prisons now house 136,000 state inmates, compared with Texas' 154,000.
  • Mark Miner, once one of Gov. Rick Perry's most visible spokesmen, has joined Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's U.S. Senate campaign, the Tribune's Jay Root reported Wednesday. Miner, who served as Perry's spokesman during his 2010 gubernatorial battle and his presidential campaign, worked for Dewhurst at the Capitol from 2003 to 2006.

"If the Dewhurst Attack Machine must attack somebody, let them level their vitriol at me."Ted Cruz in a campaign blog post on Wednesday defending a supporter who accused the David Dewhurst campaign of exploiting a disabled veteran

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