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The Brief: Sept. 2, 2011

Digging deeper into Fed Up! is turning up gold for Rick Perry's opponents.

Governor Rick Perry talks about vetoing legislation while holding a pen onstage at the Electric Park Ballroom in Waterloo on…

The Big Conversation:

Digging deeper into Fed Up! is turning up gold for Rick Perry's opponents.

The 220-page Washington-bashing manifesto — for which the Tribune recently produced a chapter-by-chapter guide — has so far provided much fodder for critics, who have latched onto Perry's description of Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme," his criticism of the 16th Amendment, which allows for a national income tax, and his call for the end of life terms for Supreme Court justices. 

Perry's campaign initially backed away from the book, which was published less than a year ago, calling it a "a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto" and "a look back, not a path forward." But as Perry later told a reporter in Iowa, “I haven’t backed off anything in my book, so read the book again and get it right."

But opponents have begun poring over the writing, finding several more controversial nuggets, like passages in which Perry knocks the Department of Homeland Security and the 17th Amendment (which permitted the direct election of U.S. senators) and defends former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's infamous claim that federal health care reform could establish "death panels."

“Speaking from an opposition research perspective, if you wanted to pin someone down on their extreme views on Social Security, you would have to go to, you know, the University of Texas video archive and find the debate from his first state house campaign where he gives this outrageous quote on Social Security,” Judd Legum, the research director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, tells Politico. “Here, he put out a book … where he just lays it out very specifically.”

And as Politico notes, the book provides opponents not only with a wealth of red-hot opposition research, but with clear, sharply worded material that could be easily molded for attack ads.

The Huffington Post reports today that according to advisers, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who's vying for GOP front-runner status with Perry, may wield Perry's writings about Social Security in an attack on the Texas governor in Florida, a key early primary state with a sizable senior citizen population.

Culled:

  • The Tribune's Ross Ramsey reported Thursday that state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, is filing to run for the congressional seat now held by Republican Francisco "Quico" Canseco of San Antonio. And in El Paso, former City Councilman Beto O'Rourke announced that he'll challenge longtime U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary next year, setting the stage, as the El Paso Times notes, for a potentially bruising fight within the city's dominant political party.
  • The Austin American-Statesman notes today that Gov. Rick Perry's views on issues like evolution and immigration have sometimes pitted him against high-power Texas business leaders, like Clayton Williams Jr., the former Texas gubernatorial candidate and Midland oilman, who in 2008 urged Perry to fight conservatives' efforts to make public schools teach creationism. The tension, though, has rarely left any hard feelings: Williams on Thursday hosted a presidential fundraiser for Perry.
  • The state could face power outages in the future if a federal emissions rule takes effect as scheduled in January, the state's electric grid operator — which has faced unprecedented power demand this summer — warned in a report released Thursday. A representative from the grid operator said the state would have had to have forced at least two rotating outages in August had the new rules been in place. The Environmental Protection Agency has pushed back against criticism of the regulations.

"Why is Rick Perry so cruel to women? … Perry is running for president, and if he wins, you can bet he'll force this dangerous agenda on every woman in every state. If we don't stand up to him now, women may suffer the consequences for years to come."Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and daughter of former Gov. Ann Richards, in an email to her political list

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