The Brief: Top Texas News for Feb. 12, 2013

The Big Conversation

A controversial State of the Union invitation has turned the national spotlight toward a Texas congressman whose reputation precedes him.

The congressman, Republican Steve Stockman of Friendswood, made national headlines on Monday when he announced that he had invited rock musician Ted Nugent to join him at President Barack Obama's address Tuesday night. Nugent, who said last year that he would end up "dead or in jail" if Obama was re-elected, predicted on Monday that the president's speech would be "smoke and mirrors."

Stockman, however, hasn't shied away from controversy, either. Last month, the freshman Republican, who previously served in Congress in the 1990s, threatened to impeach Obama over his push for new gun regulations and compared the president to Saddam Hussein.

His brashness has helped him quickly earn a name for himself as "Obama’s No. 1 antagonist in Congress," as Politico puts it.

 

"He just enjoys making noise and having people look at him, and I think he’s got some talents at making that happen," said Matt Angle, a Democratic political consultant. "He knows how to rattle someone’s cage and make them rush the bars."

Stockman will tweet the State of the Union tonight with the hashtag #youlie, according to Politico, and he announced Monday that he would hang a 10-foot graphic called the "Obama Failometer" outside his Washington office to track the president's "failed liberal policies."

Culled

•    Texas Gov. Rick Perry: 'California is looking at our backside' (San Jose Mercury News): "Declaring that his conservative state had knocked California off its perch as the nation's business leader, Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Monday bragged that the Golden State is now 'looking at our backside.' … In a wide-ranging interview with this newspaper, the Republican politician fired return shots at California Gov. Jerry Brown, said his state capital of Austin is poised to become the 'next Silicon Valley' and characterized California as a great state that has lost its way."

•    Call for House school funding debate fizzles (The Associated Press): "House Democrats tried to pick a fight Monday over funding for Texas' public schools, but Republicans sidestepped the issue, saying it's too early to take action amid pending legal battles. San Antonio Democratic Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer sought to declare funding for public education an emergency matter, thus allowing the chamber to immediately hear bills on it."

•    House to take up $4.5 billion Medicaid IOU next week (Austin American-Statesman): "The House Appropriations Committee on Monday unanimously approved House Bill 10, an emergency appropriations bill whose primary purpose is to cover the $4.5 billion unpaid Medicaid tab. In 2011, lawmakers paid for only 18 months of Medicaid expenses as they tried to balance the budget without raising taxes or using the rainy day fund."

Quote of the Day: "It was colorful. It was awesome. He got a lot of coverage. He helped the effort." — Gov. Rick Perry to the San Jose Mercury News on Jerry Brown, the governor of California, calling Perry's recent radio ad campaign "barely a fart"

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