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The Brief: Oct. 15, 2010

Debate(ish) day is upon us.

Rick Perry, Bill White

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Debate(ish) day is upon us.

More accurately, separate-hour-long-interviews day, which, you might know, is the best we're going to get in this governor's race.

In lieu of a real debate, in which Gov. Rick Perry now-famously declined to participate unless challenger Bill White's released tax returns from the 1990s, the governor and his opponent have instead agreed to individual sit-downs today with our very own editor-in-chief, Evan Smith

We'll live-stream the interviews — White at 1 p.m. and Perry at 3 p.m. — on our home page, as will our public broadcast partners for the event, radio station KUT and TV station KLRU, on their respective sites. The interviews will be held at KLRU's Austin City Limits studio on the University of Texas campus in front of a live audience.

Discussion is sure to cover a range of substantive issues important to Texas, but with the candidates in the midst of barb-trading over technology fund controversy (and, as the Austin American-Statesman reports today, even more controversy), you're likely to get your politics fix.

Sparks will fly (but won't hit either candidate's opponent, given that, as per tradition, the two won't likely cross paths).

Tune in.

Polls for early voting opening Monday, and Election Day's just 18 days away.

CULLED:

  • Shortly after Judge Charlie Baird heard testimony from experts casting doubt on executed Corsicana man Cameron Todd Willingham's guilt, the 3rd Court of Appeals stepped into the case to block Baird from taking any further action.
  • Add yet another wrinkle to the mystery on Falcon Lake. On the same day that Mexican officials called off search efforts to find the body of David Hartley, who was reportedly shot by Mexican drug pirates on the border reservoir, an official said Hartley may have been the victim of mistaken identity. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended the U.S. government from accusations that it hasn't done enough in its search for Hartley's body.
  • Video evidence shows that the nonprofit Tea Party group King Street Patriots recently broke campaign finance laws while hosting a Republican candidate running in one of the state's most closely watched House races, says Texans for Public Justice. The Texas Independent reports that the video shows House District 133 candidate Jim Murphy at a King Street event engaging in political speech, which seems to be "pretty blatantly ignoring the laws" governing nonprofit 501(c)4 corporations, the watchdog group says.

"I was not the elected official. It was not my responsibility, I didn’t think, to speak out in ways to get in some sort of debate with him. I just didn’t see that as part of my role." — Former first lady Laura Bush, in an an interview with the Trib, on airing her political differences with her husband, on issues like gay marriage, while in the White House

MUST-READ:

Early voting starts Monday! Find your precinct here.

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