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The Brief: April 19, 2010

The Rick Perry interview, all eyes on U.S. House races, and Palin's six-figure fee.

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry does not want to be president. You got that? Despite appearing on the covers of national magazines, speaking at national conventions, and running a state whose policies are constantly under national scrutiny, he is fine being at home here in Texas. That’s what Perry said last week during an interview with Evan Smith on behalf of the The Texas Tribune and Newsweek magazine. Perry, who posed for the magazine’s cover just a few blocks from his cherished Capitol building, fended off repeated questions about his planned political moves and whether they involve a shot at the presidency. Instead, Perry said, he speaks at national events like the Southern Republican Leadership Conference to bring attention to Texas, and not detract away from state sovereignty, which he argues has helped make Texas the role-model state it is.

Others posit that Perry’s actions speak louder than his words. In an Associated Press article writer Jay Root cites political analyst Jack Pitney, a government professor at Claremont College: “I think everybody assumes he has an interest in running for national office because if he were just interested in Texas, he'd only be talking about Texas.”

Perry, who faces former Houston Mayor Bill White in November, also weighs in on why he doesn’t have a bust of George W. Bush in his office (he has one of Ronald Reagan), raising taxes and Texas’ troubled neighbor to the South, where he takes a vintage primary-season swat at the federal government.

CULLED:

  • All eyes are on the eyes of Texas. With Republicans poised to make considerable gains nationally during this year’s November elections, the national Democratic and Republican parties are setting their sights on two Texas races, reports the San Antonio Express-News. U.S. Reps. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, and Chet Edwards, D-Waco, face challengers Francisco ‘Quico’ Canseco and Bill Flores, respectively, in this year’s general election. Both seats are included on the Rothenberg Political Report’s list of 68 U.S. House seats that could be in jeopardy, specifically during lean economic times and with so much discontent in Texas over health care legislation.
  • Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is drilling North Texas pocketbooks at a rate of about $1,000 each. According to a report in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, that’s how much tickets to see Palin at a fundraiser for the Uptown’s Women’s Center in Dallas are going for. Organizers cited in the report said they could  not reveal what Palin charged to appear, but the report speculates Palin charges what some former presidents and other heads of state rake in: about $100,000 per event. If just seeing the former governor isn’t enough, VIP tickets and a chance at dinner with Palin are up for grabs for only $25,000.
  • Getting Better. Luci Baines Johnson, the youngest daughter of former President Lyndon Baines Johnson, is reportedly recovering slowly in the hospital following an attack last week of what doctors are calling a rare auto-immune disorder. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Baines Johnson, 62, is expected to make a full recovery from Guillain-Barre syndrome. 

MUST READ:

Governor brushes off talk of 2012The Associated Press

Inquiries: UTEP President Diana Natalicio's travel expenses doubled from 2008 to 2009El Paso Times

Borrow and MendThe Texas Tribune

More Texas school districts look at whether to switch to online textbooksThe Dallas Morning News

Tea partiers in two camps: Palin vs. PaulPolitico

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