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The Brief: Nov. 30, 2010

Want to see the most feel-good salvo yet in the speaker's race?

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Want to see the most feel-good salvo yet in the speaker's race?

Look no further than the Joe Straus biographical retrospective, which was posted anonymously last night, as reported by the Trib's Ross Ramsey.

Typically fodder for political geeks, the speaker's race — still largely an insider's game — this year has so far seen candidates treating the contest like a regular run for office, making personal appeals to a public that ultimately gets no direct vote in who holds the top post in the Texas House.

And with the Straus video, which brandishes the incumbent's conservative credentials and lifelong affiliation with the Republican Party, the race is even more closely resembling a public fight for office.

In other speaker's news, state Rep. Ken Paxton, the McKinney Republican who's challenging Straus from the right, along with Pampa Republican Warren Chisum, picked up two pledges on Monday. And in Dallas, a freshman in the House — all of whom are attending orientation this week — is taking heat from a Tea Party activist for her support for Straus.

CULLED:

  • State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, squared off against Anderson Cooper over Barack Obama's birth certificate on CNN last night.
  • The hunger strike targeting U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison outside her San Antonio office ended with 15 arrests made Monday night after the protesters refused to leave.
  • Gov. Rick Perry's office has asked William E. Morrow, a member of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund's advisory committee, to consider resigning in light of a questionable stock deal with the technology fund's former director.
  • Expect the WikiLeaks controversy to make its way down south to the Texas border as documents, which the whistle-blowing site is releasing in waves, expose information on drugs and Mexico.
  • Arturo Gallegos Castrellón, who claims to have masterminded 80 percent of the slayings in violence-ridden Ciudad Juárez, was captured by Mexican police over the weekend. But don't expect one kingpin's arrest to turn things around for Mexico, as the Trib's Julian Aguilar reports.
  • Texas' new electricity system — purported to save consumers billions of dollars throughout the next decade — debuts Wednesday.

"Speaker Boehner is our Dwight Eisenhower in the battle against the Obama Administration. Majority Leader Cantor is our Omar Bradley. I want to be George Patton — put anything in my scope and I will shoot it." — A line in a presentation to be delivered today by U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington, to the GOP Steering Committee making his case for leading the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Barton's gunning hard for the post but, some say, remains a long shot in light of his infamous apology to BP.

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