UPDATED: The three Republican gubernatorial candidates — Kay Bailey Hutchison, Debra Medina, and Rick Perry — met for their second, and probably final, debate in Dallas tonight. We came, we watched, we wrote, live-blogging all the way.
As we did in the first debate two weeks ago, we're leaving the results on line; this time, it was Emily Ramshaw at the debate in Dallas and, again, Ross Ramsey in Austin, watching TV like a regular voter.
We also teamed with Austin's KXAN-TV to set up a focus group, in an attempt to see the candidates through the eyes of real voters and not campaign people and political reporters. Elise Hu's on that beat — stay tuned for those stories.
By the way, this debate was sponsored by the Dallas-based BELO Corp., owner of The Dallas Morning News and a group of Texas television stations. It'll appear on their stations (WFAA in Dallas, KHOU in Houston, KENS in San Antonio, and KVUE in Austin) and on other stations in other markets. Check local listings.
Unless you're a fan of the story-telling style in the movie "Memento," we'd suggest setting the order to oldest first, so you can read the debate as it unfolded.
Emily's gonna have better pictures. But at my house, there's cold beer. So there's that.
"Debra Medina Calls “Bullshit” on Perry Before Debate"
This could be a very interesting evening.
DALLAS, TX, Friday, January 29, 2010 – According to Governor Rick Perry, under his leadership, Texas is the strongest state in the nation, but the devil is in the details.
In a recent interview at the Blogger’s Summit, Governor Perry said that ending the property tax in Texas was a very intriguing and positive idea. However, he fell short of embracing the end of property tax or any significant change in management of the state’s current fiscal crisis, maintaining that Texas is on the right path. “Well, I’m saying “bullshit” and here’s why,” Medina said:
Not only have we seen loss of jobs in the private sector, the most recent State Comptroller’s Fiscal Notes shows total state tax collections have fallen by over 20%, while funds from the federal government to the state government have risen nearly 34% so far this year over last year, to plug the huge hole in Governor Perry’s state budget.
Furthermore, while Texas families and businesses have been tightening their belts during that same year, and while Governor Perry is boasting about our solid economic footing, he has spent nearly $1.7 Billion in his own department[i], 13.5% more this year than last!
“A double-digit spending increase is not sound management. It feels like state theft, pure and simple. He is taking food from the mouths of Texans,” says Debra Medina. “While the Governor is living high-off-the-hog, Texas families are struggling to feed their children and pay their bills.” (End)
Perry: I don't think it was a mistake at all... blames previous governors for "kicking the can down the road."
Hutchison says: "TXDOT has mismanaged money." "We need new leadership at TXDOT." "I think we need to assure that TXDOT is talking to local officials. I will reform TXDOT, I will jerk it by its roots to get new leadership at TXDOT."
"If we need new revenue, if we do... I would work with the Legislature. There would never be a tax increase without an election of the people."
"I'm against the gas tax. Let me go on the record saying that very clearly. How are we going to build these roads? I think private sector involvement. The bottom line of that is, those other roads that are still out there will still be free."
She answers no: "I haven't seen ample evidence that e-verify is that fix-all solution." She said it requires employers to jump through hoops law enforcement should be jumping through instead.
"I have voted against funding sanctuary cities at every opportunity."
On the e-verify question, Hutchison notes that she's been a small business owner.
"E-verify is the best system we have that would allow an employer to do what we need to do. We have to give employers the tools to find out if someone is legal."
"We want [state agencies] now to start making the reductions in their agency budgets by at least 5 percent."
"In 2003 we faced a $10 billion budget shortfall. With Republican leadership in place in 2003... we balanced that budget without raising taxes."
"It's unfortunate the governor has not taken his own fiscal advice. In the executive department in the first fiscal quarter, there was a 14.5 percent increase in spending... when everyone here has been tightening their belts for a year."
"Do you support overturning the rule that legalized abortion?"
The answer appears to be "no."
"There is now 40 years of settled law that has started restricting abortion in our country, that has had a good effect."
"Texas is a state, and am a person, who reveres life. The unborn baby should be the priority."
"The restrictions that have become the law of the land are good restrictions."
"I believe in parental consent. I have supported the ban on partial birth abortion."
"If the people of Massachusetts did what they did... I know a good republican will be elected, and that person will get seniority for two sessions."
"I absolutely don't want secession" but says the state should use "nullification and interposition" to stop federal intrusion into state's rights.
"I am a born again Bible-believing christian. My personal belief is that marriage is a sacred contract between a man and a woman, and God."
"The state of Texas, that is a decision of the people. This state has voted overwhelmingly."
But is it fair to residents of other states? Perry says those residents should go ahead and move down here.
Perry indicates strongly that he'll finish the term -- because there's no better job.
"I have no idea what my future holds for me four years down the road. I've got a lot of faith in the lord, I hope he's going to let me live for four years."
Slater, to Perry: How many private sector and govt jobs were created last year."
Perry: "2009 was an incredibly difficult year." Says Texas was one of only two states with positive job growth.
"I can't tell you how many government jobs." Says "95 percent of the jobs were in the public sector."
Her answer: About 150 miles.
The right answer = 105.8 miles.
Her: I think it's 12.
McCaa: It's 9.
He says: $415 dollars.
Right answer: $431.
Cricket sounds..... silence... "Burleson?"
McCaa: "actually it was Pinckney."
KBH: "We can train our DPS to help the border patrol when there is a criminal illegal alien who can be apprehended. I would do that as governor."
Says she would require state agencies to use the e-verify system.
"Absolutely not. We have to understand that all tax is a drag on the economy. It takes away our income, jobs. Let's get income tax and property tax off the backs of Texas."
Perry calls it "one of those debacles that Congress has allowed over the years." Says he could use the "bully pulpit," but that's about it.
Says Perry: "It was great money spent toward a project that's gonna change the world... You are absolutely wrong that this is a program with a checkered past. A checkered past is what I call the bail-out in Washington, D.C."
"The people of the state of Texas will be better served by moving the goal post than seeing, ok we quit."
"I absolutely agree eliminating the property tax in Texas is the thing to do."
"It's good for everybody in Texas."
Went back later to grab the whole quote, which left Perry clenching his jaw and Hutchison watching Medina with some discomfort: "...I'm critical of the governor's leadership. I'm critical of his failure to demand excellence, accountability, transparency. Every dollar that the state of Texas takes, we take from families... He takes from us so that he can play with his corporate slush fund and reward his friends' businesses. That's not his to give, and he hasn't understood the proper role of government in Texas. I'm very critical of the governor's leadership in recent years."
The Legislature already banned the practice in 2005 — and Perry signed it.
Hutchison's comments are "a misstatement of fact at best," Perry says.
"There are four basic principles for why Texas has been so successful.
1) We don't spend all the money.
2) We keep our taxes low.
3) We don't allow for over-suing.
4) We have talented schools.
"It's going to take experienced executive leadership to take this state forward."
"The endorsement I'm most interested in is yours.
Financial ruin is knocking at our doorstep.
Together they're [Perry/Hutchison] a team of economic tricksters intent on destroying our freedom and selling Texas to the highest bidder."
She reiterated her stances from the debate, speaking out against pork barrel spending in Washington (Hutchison) and loosey-goosey spending in Texas' own executive branch (Perry).
"That's not good leadership," she said.
Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.