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The Brief: Aug. 4, 2011

Revelations over a surgical procedure may shine an even brighter spotlight on the man who could be days away from announcing his run for president.

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The Big Conversation:

Revelations over a surgical procedure may shine an even brighter spotlight on the man who could be days away from announcing his run for president.

The Tribune's Emily Ramshaw reported Wednesday that Gov. Rick Perry underwent experimental stem cell therapy on July 1 during a procedure the governor characterized beforehand as a minor surgery to treat a back injury.

The procedure involved no embryonic stem cells, the use of which Perry and many conservatives oppose. Rather, Dr. Stanley Jones, a Houston spine surgeon and friend of Perry's who performed the surgery, removed stem cells from the governor's hip and injected them into his spine and bloodstream.

A Perry spokesman called the procedure "successful," but adult stem cell therapy, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars, has shown mixed clinical results and hasn't received FDA approval.

The controversy, though, didn't keep Perry from writing a letter to the Texas Medical Board three weeks after his operation touting the "revolutionary potential that adult stem cell research and therapies have on our nation’s health, quality of life and economy.” The board is currently considering new regulations for adult stem cell use.

Jones, who underwent adult stem cell therapy of his own last year in Japan, also told the Tribune on Wednesday that Perry was the first patient on whom he had performed the procedure.

“He said, ‘You know I don’t mind being the first. I like it,’” Jones said.

Meanwhile, the South Korean company that established the stem cell lab in Houston with Jones faces controversy of its own: Stem cell therapy may have caused the death of a patient last year.

Culled:

  • The Houston Chronicle reports that Gov. Rick Perry still hasn't decided what role he'll play at The Response, his prayer rally set to take place in Houston's Reliant Stadium on Saturday. Organizers, the Chronicle says, also have yet to release a full programming lineup. Meanwhile, The New York Times has a look inside the American Family Association, the controversial Christian organization sponsoring the event.  
  • Lawyers for Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a brief in federal court Wednesday objecting to the application of a section of the Voting Rights Act in a redistricting suit in which two Democratic state lawmakers, Sen. Wendy Davis and Rep. Marc Veasey of Fort Worth, have filed to intervene. “Subjecting the states to a suit where they bear the burden of proving, in essence, that they are not governed by recalcitrant lawbreakers is extraordinary in itself, albeit perhaps once justified by the historic exigencies of the middle 1960s," the state's attorney's wrote, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
  • Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, a Marine Corps veteran, has recorded a video in support of the governor for Veterans for Rick Perry, which surfaced this week alongside the Jobs for Vets Fund. The two groups hope to woo veterans to the Perry cause in Iowa and South Carolina.
  • The race to replace U.S. Rep. Ron Paul has begun: Michael Truncale, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee and a Texas State University System regent, announced his candidacy on Wednesday.

"This president is trying to engage in class warfare and shooting high-powered bullets at people who have corporate jets, but the bullets pass through those wealthy people and hit blue-collar workers who rely upon those wealthy individuals who risk the capital to create the jobs." — Gov. Rick Perry, in an interview with RealClearPolitics

Must-Read:

And on this week's TribCast: The Response, Perry and the race for lieutenant governor

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