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The Brief: July 19, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry on Monday told reporters not to take him so figuratively.

Gov. Rick Perry speaks at podium with Sen. Jane Nelson R-Flower Mound in the background before ceremonially signing Senate B…

The Big Conversation:

Gov. Rick Perry on Monday told reporters not to take him so figuratively.

In his first meeting with the Capitol press corps in weeks, Perry said he didn't mean anything religious when he told the Des Moines Register recently that he'd been "called" to run president, the Tribune's Jay Root reports.

Rather, he said, he meant "called" a little more literally. “There's a lot of different ways to be called. My mother may call me for dinner. My friends may call me for something," he said. “There are people calling from all across this country either to me directly or to people that they know, and saying we wish you would consider doing this.”

But the governor was quick to add that he's a "man of faith" and that his religion helps inform his decision-making.

Perry for the first time also personally addressed controversial statements made by some members of the American Family Association, the group hosting the governor's Aug. 6 prayer event, dubbed The Response. 

“I appreciate anybody that’s going to endorse me, whether it’s on The Response or whether it’s on a potential run for the presidency of the United States,” Perry said. “Just because you endorse me doesn’t mean I endorse everything that you say or do.”

Today, a group of of high-dollar Republican donors will meet in Austin to map out a fundraising plan for a Perry campaign. The Dallas Morning News has a look at whether Perry will be able to raise the $100 million it might take for him to win the Republican nomination.

“If he enters the race and creates a sense of momentum, then money will follow,” Matthew Dowd, the chief strategist for George W. Bush's re-election campaign, told the Morning News. “Money can’t create momentum, but momentum certainly creates money.”

Perry won't attend the meeting, but according to the Austin American-Statesman, he and Attorney General Greg Abbott will join the donors for dinner.

Culled:

  • Though the governor's still weeks away from announcing whether he's running for president, Americans for Rick Perry, a group unaffiliated with the governor, is wasting no time. The group, Politico reports, has started a social media campaign to get Perry supporters to the Ames Straw Poll, an early test of support in the key primary state of Iowa, and to write in the governor's name.
  • Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will announce midweek by video that he's running for the U.S. Senate, according to the Houston Chronicle. Of the prerecorded announcement, state Sen. Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican who may also make a play for the same seat, said Dewhurst "risks losing the race if he tries to do it only with technology and money. At the end of the day, you've got to look people in the eye and shake their hand and tell them why you are the best candidate."
  • A statewide report released today contains an alarming statistic about Texas public schools: Almost 55 percent of recent students were suspended at least once between grades seven and 12. “As much as I work in the field, I’m shocked by the numbers,” said state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston.
  • A small group of vocal Texas conservatives, including Michael Quinn Sullivan, the prominent conservative activist, had their Twitter accounts suspended on Monday. Sullivan jokingly suggested foul play — "It could have been that some folks at the Save Texas Schools rally got bored and said our tweets are 'spam'" — but said it was likely the result of a technical glitch, the Trib's Reeve Hamilton reports.

“I think he’s gonna run. I haven’t talked to him but if he ever aspired to run, this is the best opportunity he’ll probably ever have." — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn to Politico on Gov. Rick Perry

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