THE BIG CONVERSATION:
Adding to the still-escalating drama, an ultimatum was issued in the governor's race Thursday.
Gov. Rick Perry announced that if challenger Bill White doesn't release additional tax returns by Sept. 15, he won't participate in a debate before Election Day.
Perry has repeatedly said he won't share a stage with his opponent until White releases tax records dating back to his time as deputy secretary of energy in the Clinton administration, but before Thursday, he'd given no deadline. The state's major newspapers have invited both candidates to a debate in Austin on Oct. 19. White has already accepted; Perry has not.
"There is a very simple solution to this situation," Perry said in a statement that noted the release of the governor's 2009 tax returns, for which the governor had requested an IRS extension. "Release your taxes, Mr. White, and we can move forward with debate preparations."
"He's looking for excuses not to debate," White told reporters, echoing previous assertions that Perry is nervous about engaging with his opponent.
On Thursday, White, still jabbing at Perry, also released a six-point border security plan that included a proposal to secure more federal funding for security. "Border security is a permanent issue not a temporary one," White said. "Perry has used federal and state funds to pay for overtime programs, but sheriff’s deputies funded by these programs are stretched thin."
Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier fired back, saying White's doing nothing but following Perry's lead: "It's nice to see Bill White finally realize we have a border that needs to be protected, but he has proposed nothing new here. No one can beat Gov. Perry when it comes to border issues."
- Sighs of relief were heard after officials confirmed that an oil platform that caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday morning resulted in no injuries and no oil spill. Not unexpectedly, though, the incident reignited debate over the safety of offshore drilling.
- For the second time in two years, the Texas Democratic Party is filing suit against the Travis County tax office for rejecting voter applications. The suit follows a recent dispute between the tax office and the Democrat-backed voting operation Houston Votes, both of which have accused the other of sabotaging voter registration efforts.
- Believe it or not, Machete, the Robert Rodriguez-directed movie about a knife-wielding renegade, has sparked a political debate over state handouts. See the movie (or not), then read the the story, brought to you by the Tribune's Reeve Hamilton.
- Tea Party rallies in Dallas and Tyler targeted U.S. Sen. John Cornyn on Thursday for the National Republican Senatorial Committee's support for establishment candidates in a number of GOP primaries nationwide.
"It's a minor part of what we do. They go right to my chief of staff." — U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, appearing to shift some of the blame for awarding thousands of dollars in scholarships to family members, in violation of nepotism rules
Tough fundraising for RNC on favorite turf, The Texas Independent
Former Texas chief justice, wife sued over alcohol-related teenage death, Austin American-Statesman
LULAC President: Discrimination persists, El Paso Times
Chet Edwards Fights for His CD-17 Seat, The Texas Tribune