The Brief: Spotlight Shines on a Defiant Perry

Gov. Rick Perry speaks to press a day after a grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on Friday on charges of abuse of power August 16th, 2014
Gov. Rick Perry speaks to press a day after a grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on Friday on charges of abuse of power August 16th, 2014

The Big Conversation

One consequence of announcing the felony indictments against Rick Perry late Friday was to give the governor the following day to begin his full-throated counterattack. That meant the front pages of the state's Sunday papers were dominated by pictures of a defiant Perry.

But his press conference was just one of several story lines to emerge Sunday in a story that appears to be in full ferment.

Here are some highlights: Austin press corps veteran Dave Montgomery wrote under a "Special to the Star-Telegram" byline with his daily coverage of the Saturday Perry press conference for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The Austin American-Statesman's Jonathan Tilove did a quick turnaround on Perry's Sunday appearance on Fox News Sunday.

The Dallas Morning News' Wayne Slater did a lookahead on what Perry needs to do to remain viable for 2016. Among the five tips? "Frame the case as politics" and "smile for the mug shot." The Tribune's Jay Root also has a useful list of five, this one offering a collection of pertinent things to know about the indictments.

Meanwhile, the News' James Drew and the San Antonio Express-News' Drew Joseph took closer looks at the special prosecutor at the center of the criminal investigation of the governor. The gist of both articles (here and here) is that those who know Michael McCrum say he's not one to play politics with an investigation.

 

The Express-News' Peggy Fikac, meanwhile, gave a first-person account of reporters piecing together the particulars of the case over the summer by taking note of who was coming into the grand jury room to testify. In the end, Fikac wrote, the case was built from the testimony of Perry staffers and lawmakers.

The indictments themselves also emerged as stories. The Houston Chronicle's Mike Ward wrote that the laws under which the indictments were issued "are vague and broad and could make the high-profile case a tough-go for prosecutors to win."

The New Republic's Alec MacGillis quoted a former colleague's tweet that the indictments appear "pretty thin" while saying, "It is not going to be easy for prosecutors to convince a trial jury that a governor wielding his veto power in even the rawest, most ad hominem form, as Perry did here, amounts to a crime."

The Day Ahead

•    State Reps. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, and John Zerwas, R-Richmond — two of the Legislature's most respected thinkers on health care — discuss what's next in health care. The lunch hour discussion will take place at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas headquarters in Richardson. For those unable to attend, we will livestream the event at noon.

Trib Must-Reads

Perry Had Already Faced Gap With Cruz in 2016 Talk, by Aman Batheja

The Bullet Train That Could Change Everything, by Aman Batheja and Stephen J. Smith

Is Traffic Surcharge Program a Trap for Texas Drivers?, by Gilad Edelman

Eagle Ford Sees Another Kind of Boom: Publishing, by Jim Malewitz

 

Elsewhere

Autopsy Shows Michael Brown Was Struck at Least 6 Times, The New York Times

Garcia: Clinton-Castro dinner fuels talk of VP run, San Antonio Express-News

Fracking may be coming to the Chihuahua border, Mexican officials say, El Paso Times

More Texas abortion clinics to close?, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Short research deals reap big tax rewards, Austin American-Statesman

Former top U.S. prosecutor defending John Wiley Price associate, The Dallas Morning News

Health care insurers still discriminating, critics say, The Associated Press

Quote to Note

"I think it’s mentioned that in Texas, politics is a contact sport, and something like this is not going to give us any pause or any concern at all. It’s just part of politics."

— Pottawattamie (Iowa) County Republican Party Chairman Jeff Jorgenson, demonstrating the Friday indictment of Gov. Rick Perry has not diminished enthusiasm for the potential presidential candidate in some quarters in the Hawkeye State.

Today in TribTalk

Why the indictment doesn't matter, by Dick DeGuerin

The case for high-speed rail in Texas, by Peter LeCody

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The full program has been announced for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival, which runs from Sept. 19-21 at the University of Texas at Austin. Featuring 10 tracks, 44 sessions and over 200 speakers, this weekend is not to be missed!