THE BIG CONVERSATION:
If Gov. Rick Perry's sick of the speculation, he's not showing it.
During his latest interview, Perry, on Fox News Sunday, buoyantly insisted — yet again — that he has no plans to run for president.
Host Chris Wallace asked the governor if he had to make that commitment to the Republican Governors Association, which he was last week elected to lead.
The governor also went back to a number of lines he's made familiar during his recent media tour, calling Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" and criticizing "strings that are attached from the federal dollars that come down here in our Medicaid programs."
But talk also turned to Texas, with Wallace questioning Perry about the state's budget shortfall. Perry, who's been disputing projected shortfall amounts for months, bristled at Wallace's mention of the widely assumed $25 billion figure.
As for fixes, he said, "We've done this before when we've had to make the tough decisions in the state of Texas. We're not going to raise taxes. We're going to reduce spending. And I will tell you at the end of the day Texas will be better off, Texans will be better off, and we will continue to lead the nation in the creation of jobs and wealth, and this country will be better off from it."
- Closing arguments will be heard today in Tom DeLay's money-laundering trial. The former U.S. House majority leader faces a possible life sentence if convicted.
- Officials will likely complete a ballot recount today in the race between incumbent Democrat Solomon Ortiz and Republican Blake Farenthold in Congressional District 27. With only absentee ballots left to count, Farenthold leads by about 800 votes, about the same spread reported on Election Day.
- Allegations of a conflict of interest and poor performance have dogged the Texas Lottery Commission's announcement Friday that it would renew a contract with its longtime vendor.
- Three challengers and a number of Republican leaders are looking to thwart U.S. Rep. Joe Barton's bid for the top post on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he has chaired in the past. Critics, some of whom say Republican House rules prohibit Barton from serving again, have used the Ennis Republican's infamous apology to BP as ammunition.
"For too long, we've forsaken what our Judeo-Christian heritage has been. Our rights do come from God, not from government." — State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, who has filed a bill that would allow schoolteachers to display the Ten Commandments in their classrooms
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