The Big Conversation:
Marco Rubio's out of the vice presidential limelight, but not off the campaign trail, which on Wednesday takes him to Texas.
The Florida senator — a rising star in the Republican Party and onetime vice presidential contender for Mitt Romney — will visit the state today to rally Hispanic voters and fundraise for Romney.
As the San Antonio Express-News reports, Rubio will speak at the Texas Hispanic Leadership Forum in Houston and then travel to San Antonio to attend two Romney fundraising events. (Though Romney will not be in attendance, his brother Scott will.)
U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith and House Speaker Joe Straus are among the group of San Antonio officials and business leaders hosting the fundraising events, according to the Express-News.
Though passed over for the veep slot in favor of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, Rubio has taken on a prominent role in the Romney campaign. The senator introduced Romney at a rally in Miami on Monday, and the Tampa Bay Times reported Tuesday that he'll do the same honors for Romney on a much bigger stage later this month: at the Republican National Convention. Rubio is now even being called "the Romney/Ryan ticket’s top national surrogate."
Today, however, won't mark Rubio's only recent visit to Texas. In November he spoke at another Hispanic leadership event, urging Republicans to change their message on immigration. "I think it's pretty clear what the Republican Party is against when it comes to legal immigration and illegal immigration," he said at the Dallas event. "Now I think it's important for the Republican Party to take the next step and start talking about what we're for."
- The application process for the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — which offers some young illegal immigrants two-year deportation deferrals and work permits — opens today. And in Texas, where estimates say that more than 200,000 individuals could benefit from the program, scores of young immigrants have begun preparing for the process. In Houston on Tuesday, the line of applicants for passports and other documents at the Mexican Consulate interrupted traffic.
- Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson on Tuesday began a weeklong campaign swing through Texas. In Odessa, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram, Johnson touted his history as a former small-business owner and expanded on his libertarian views. "I'm socially accepting and fiscally responsible, he said. "I believe the majority of Americans fall into this category." Johnson, a former New Mexico governor, said he hoped grassroots support would first help him secure a spot onstage at a presidential debate before November.
- If one private company has its way, bullet trains topping 200 miles per hour could by 2020 be transporting Texans between Dallas and Houston in less than 90 minutes. The plan could make Texas a leader in high-speed rail, but as the Tribune's Aman Batheja writes, is it possible without taxpayer dollars?
"Nothing makes me madder than someone making fun of a Republican that isn't exactly the way they are. We are here to represent our states and if someone is a Republican and wants to be a Republican, they should be welcome in the Republican Party." — U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to MSNBC on Tuesday
- State insurance agency worker blocked consumers' emails, Austin American-Statesman
- In Texas’ Capital, Construction on Many Corners, The New York Times
- Man says artifacts in Collins' book are his, San Antonio Express-News
- Amazon joins Texas' tax-free weekend, Beaumont Enterprise
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