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The Brief: February 5, 2010

Cowboys fans now have a new option for what to do on Super-Bowl Sunday: hear Ted Nugent croon and Sarah Palin rally. Tony Romo won't be there.

U.S. Sen Kay Bailey Hutchison with a supporter after filing for Texas governor on Dec. 7, 2009

THE BIG CONVERSATION

Cowboys fans now have a new option for what to do on Super-Bowl Sunday: Hear Ted Nugent croon and Sarah Palin rally for the incumbent governor of Texas. Tony Romo won't be there, as far as we know.

Gov. Rick Perry's campaign has been talking up the event for weeks, which will feature the two stars on stage with the governor, as well as state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, who will serve as the event's MC. The event was sure to be a spectacle as it was, but now both guests have stirred controversy.

Palin has called the governor's chief political aide "crude" and "disrespectful" after he reportedly used the word "retarded" throughout  a conference call with all three Republican gubernatorial campaigns. She didn't have much choice in the reprimand, however — she'd called on White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel  to resign for using the same word earlier in the week.

Nugent isn't exactly steering clear of controversy either. In poker magazine Royal Flush, Nugent argued that the president should be thrown in jail. "Mao Tse Tung lives," the rocker said, "and his name is Barack Hussein Obama."

But in case the event fails to keep things interesting, Democratic gubernatorial primary just took a turn to the negative. Candidate Farouk Shami has accused his competitor Bill White of making a racist ad. The Spanish-language ad, which makes no mention of Shami, features White telling viewers "Naci in San Antonio" (I was born in San Antonio) and that his parents were teachers. (Neither statement was in the English version of the ad). The White campaign says it was only introducing the candidate to voters, but Shami's campaign argues the ad plays on their candidate's foreign birth.

"It doesn't matter where we're from," the AP quoted Shami saying. "I'm a better Texan than he could ever be."

The allegation comes on the heels of a Shami press release titled "Attention Democrats: Bill White Can't Win in November." The press release hammered White for a poll showing him losing to all three Republican candidates. Karl-Thomas Musselman at Burnt Orange Report was quick to respond with explanations for the poll results and the difficulties Shami faces in winning. And Rasmussen Reports, which did that poll, didn't test Shami as a general election candidate.

The spats should make Monday's debate in Fort Worth all the more interesting.

CULLED

• A look in the mirror? Not only have 23 of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's advisors gone on to lobbying careers, but she just hired a former lobbyist for data company Choicepoint as a senior adviser in her Senate office. Oops. The revelation is Perry's response to Hutchison's new commercial, which criticizes Perry's "cronies" who circulate through jobs in his office and in the lobby. 

• Details, details!  Agriculture Commissioner candidate Hank Gilbert, in his exuberance over getting an endorsement from National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson, failed to notice one minor thing: he didn't have their endorsement. After making what turned out to be an inaccurate announcement, the campaign sent out another press release: turns out the Texas Farmers Union were the ones endorsing him. The Gilbert campaign said they'd gotten confused because of the volume of endorsements. His Democratic primary competitor Kinky Friedman didn't see it that way.

• Expensive mistakes. Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, was the last of seven lawmakers to be reprimanded by the Texas Ethics Commission after a complaints hearing in December. Herrero must pay $2,800 in fines for “improperly reporting” his spending in 2006 and 2008. Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, got a $1,300 fine earlier in the month for how he'd filed spending disclosures. But the other five lawmakers only got charges up to $500. 

"When I die, I am to be cremated and the ashes are to be thrown in Rick Perry's hair." — Kinky Friedman on preparing his last will and testament.

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