The Big Conversation:
Following a whirlwind week of speeches before adoring crowds around the country, Gov. Rick Perry got a reality check in his home state Thursday during a brief appearance at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials annual conference in San Antonio.
News outlets statewide (and around the country) are weighing in on the response from the audience, using words like “subdued" and “tepid.”
Though the governor concentrated his remarks on the state’s job growth and his appointment of several Hispanics to high-profile positions, the Austin American-Statesman notes a "subdued" Perry did not mention issues unpopular among Hispanic voters, including a new voter ID law or the sanctuary cities bill he added to the special session’s agenda. He also made no mention of immigration or border security.
The El Paso Times declared Perry "failed to woo" Latino leaders while "(t)he applause lines often fell flat and the clamoring of silverware hardly yielded.”
The Tribune’s Julian Aguilar reports that if this appearance was a litmus test for Perry, who is considering a run for the White House next year, it signaled the climb to engage Hispanics is currently an uphill one at best.
State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, told Aguilar, “After he received an extremely tepid response I think that threw him off his game. I certainly think it wasn’t one of this best performances. What message can you deliver on the heels of declaring sanctuary cities an emergency item and later adding it to the call of a special session?”
"Latino voters will look at action but not words. When Latinos scrutinize the actions that have been taken in this state, they'll look for another choice," said state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
On the heels of a Wall Street Journal report Thursday claiming Perry is in the presidential race, the Texas Independent points out this audience was markedly different from the socially conservative Hispanic crowd Perry addressed during an anti-abortion rally in Los Angeles on June 18.
The Texas Observer was the most blunt in its headline: "Presidential Candidate Perry Bombs at National Latino Conference."
Politico picked up on the story Thursday evening, pointing out that while President Barack Obama got criticized for skipping the event, Perry got criticized for showing up.
- Meanwhile, the Tribune’s Julian Aguilar found out the so-called sanctuary cities bill might not pass after all because the committee hearing it won't meet until Monday, leaving less time for lawmakers to take up the legislation before Wednesday’s special session deadline. The Dallas Morning News reports that two of the state’s most powerful business leaders, Houston homebuilder Bob Perry and HEB/Central market grocery head Charles Butt, “have mounted a late-hour push to derail” the anti-immigration bill, which would allow peace officers to inquire into the immigration status of people they detain.
- The buzz over Gov. Rick Perry's possible entry into the GOP presidential field reached fever pitch when the Wall Street Journal reported a “Republican campaign veteran” told them Thursday that Perry has indeed decided to run. Perry adviser Dave Carney told the WSJ they did not know for certain what their “intentions” would be. The Houston Chronicle’s Texas on the Potomac blog looked into the claim, which was vehemently denied by Perry’s communication director Mark Miner. “Nothing has changed,” he said. Carney added that it seems anyone with a 512 area code is considered a Perry insider these days. In addition, the Tribune’s Justin Dehn and yours truly talked to political strategists who say the longer the special session goes on, the more time Perry has to show off his conservative credibility to an important bloc: Republican primary voters. Watch the video report here.
- And finally, a sign that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has his sights set on the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. In an interview with D Magazine, Dewhurst said his decision would not be influenced by whether Perry enters the GOP presidential primary. Dewhurst said he and is wife have prayed about it, but they’re not ready to make an announcement. "I just think there seems to be a lack of understanding in Washington as to how to balance budgets and treat people fairly and be civil and address entitlements," Dewhurst said.
“Just want to tell you that Charles Butt and Bob Perry have asked me to call every member of State Affairs and ask them not to pass the sanctuary city bill... they think it is very bad for Texas.”- HillCo Partners lobbyist Neal “Buddy” Jones Jr. , in an e-mail sent to lawmakers and obtained by The Dallas Morning News.
Amazon Offers Texas Jobs for Tax Breaks, To No Avail, The Texas Tribune
Perry's Rainy Day Fund? Used Up, Say Some Republicans, The Texas Tribune
Special Session nearly over, work hardly done, Austin American-Statesman
Michael Williams sees opportunity in new congressional district, Midland Reporter-Telegram
Rick Perry for President?, Texas Observer
Handicapping the Republican Field, Part 1, The New York Times' FiveThirtyEight Blog