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The Brief: Aug. 18, 2011

In the latest twist to the presidential race, the rise of Rick Perry has induced the reanimation of none other than Ron Paul.

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The Big Conversation:

In the latest twist to the presidential race, the rise of Rick Perry has induced the reanimation of none other than Ron Paul.

And it's not just because Jon Stewart pilloried the media on Monday for ignoring the congressman after he narrowly lost to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at Saturday's Iowa Straw Poll (though that — and the ensuing media coverage of his lack of media coverage — may have something to do with it).

As the Tribune's Jay Root reports today, Paul supporters have begun sharpening their attacks on Perry, who they say has co-opted Paul's patented critique of the Federal Reserve. Perry caused a stir earlier this week when he said it'd be almost "treasonous" for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to print more money to try to boost the economy.

“We agree with [Perry], but let’s point out that he’s parroting what Ron Paul has been saying for years,” said Debra Medina, a disciple of Paul's who ran against Perry for governor in 2010. “He’s reading the economy and the monetary policy concerns and he’s mimicking Ron Paul.” Medina recently called Paul and Perry "diametrically opposed."

On Wednesday, Paul hit Perry for his harsh rhetoric and what Paul views as the governor's new-found distaste for the central bank. "Now they have this other governor, I can't remember his name," he said Wednesday at a campaign stop in New Hampshire. "He realizes that talking about the Fed is good, too. But I'll tell you what, he makes me sound like a moderate. I have never once said Bernanke has committed treason. But I have suggested very strongly that the Federal Reserve system and all the members have been counterfeiters for a long time."

Paul, as Politico reports, was also quick to credit Stewart for coming to his defense.

Meanwhile, Perry, also in New Hampshire on Wednesday, backed off the fiery rhetoric that threw him off his jobs message earlier this week. The governor, noting that he "got in trouble talking about the Federal Reserve," shifted his attacks back toward President Obama. Perry also fielded questions on his HPV vaccine mandate, which he again acknowledged he regretted, and climate change, about which he said, “I don't think from my perspective that I want America to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven."

Culled:

  • Matt Latimer, a speechwriter under President George W. Bush, has penned an article for The Daily Beast on the brewing battle between the Bush and Perry camps. "The Bushes are usually more cautious than this, which means they must feel they have no other choice," Latimer writes. "A Perry victory would end whatever chokehold the Bushes still have on the GOP establishment. It would cut off many donors to Rove, Inc. Worse yet, Karl Rove and his compatriots simply cannot fathom the idea of having to sit on Fox News for four years defending the policies of the man who dared to cross them."
  • As Rick Perry campaigns on the relative strength of Texas' economy, a new report has found that one of every four Texas children lives in poverty, and that the state still has the highest number of children without health insurance. Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed told the San Antonio Express-News that social woes don't paint an accurate picture of Texas' overall economic health. “One of Gov. Perry's primary goals has been to create a climate that encourages job creation and provides an environment of independence, rather than dependence,” she said.
  • Not to get ahead of ourselves, but vice presidential speculation appears to have already settled around one candidate: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who one Republican strategist tells Politico "fits every box you’re looking for when you’re looking for a VP, and then some."

“I have to go to the bathroom and throw up.” — U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, on Rick Perry's presidential bid

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