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The Brief: Sept. 22, 2010

For John Cornyn, the timing couldn't be more awkward.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, at the state Republican convention in 2010.

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

For John Cornyn, the timing couldn't be more awkward.

Tonight, Texas' junior senator will accept an award from a prominent gay Republican group a day after he accused Democrats of pandering to gay rights supporters.

Cornyn's comments came Tuesday as the Senate neared a vote on a defense authorization bill that included a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" military policy. "Though this bill typically enjoys bipartisan support," Cornyn said in a statement, "this year Senate Democrats have attached language to the bill that represents a blatant attempt to score last-minute votes just weeks before an election." (The legislation ultimately stalled, along with an amendment that added the so-called DREAM Act to the bill).

Cornyn's less-than-cozy relationship with the gay community isn't a secret — as well as opposing a repeal of "don't ask," the senator opposes gay marriage. And Log Cabin Republicans — the group honoring Cornyn tonight with the Barry Goldwater Award, which "recognizes leaders in the Republican Party who have served their nation with distinction in the model of the late Senator" — even brought the suit that led a federal judge earlier this month to declare "don't ask" unconstitutional.

But Cornyn has defended his decision to appear at the reception, even after Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, sent a letter pressing Cornyn on the issue. "Respecting each other's dignity is not about ignoring those disagreements, but rather being honest about them, and working together where possible despite them," Cornyn responded.

Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, notes that Republicans, in fact, appear to be accepting invitations to such gay rights causes more than ever. U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas was also scheduled to receive the award with Cornyn tonight but will now reportedly miss the event for a caucus meeting.

CULLED:

  • Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White met with the Texas Border Coalition, a group of mayors and business leaders, on Tuesday. Talk centered largely on security checks but wasn't without a little political color — White accused Gov. Rick Perry of using the border "as a prop for hysteria."
  • Bill Flores, the Republican challenging longtime incumbent Chet Edwards in Congressional District 17, says he can't commit to voting for U.S. Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, for speaker, The Washington Post reports.
  • In a change of pace (to say the least), the State Board of Education appeared to have sidestepped some controversy Tuesday, with the Texas Ethics Commission reporting that it has cleared member Rick Agosto, D-San Antonio, of allegations that he failed to report gifts.

"[Craig Watkins is] not a prosecutor, he's a celebrity politician. He's out there jet-setting around, and he's never here."Brian Mayes, spokesman for Republican Danny Clancy, who's running for Dallas County district attorney against incumbent Watkins, who Clancy says violated ethics laws in using campaign money to buy, among other things, a $3,000 tuxedo

MUST-READ:

Glass' appeal to conservatives could trim Perry's lead over White, Houston Chronicle

Hundreds of Austin-area charities on IRS list, Austin American-Statesman

New health care model: Accountable Care Organizations, Austin American-Statesman

High Court: Broken Bed Falls Under Malpractice Cap, The Texas Tribune

Why a County DA Prosecutes State, Federal Officials, The Texas Tribune

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