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The Brief: Oct. 24, 2011

This week could give Gov. Rick Perry the first pages to his comeback story.

Gov. Rick Perry delivering his stump speech during an early morning campaign stop in Sioux City, Iowa, on Oct. 8, 2011.

The Big Conversation:

This week could give Gov. Rick Perry the first pages to his comeback story.

Done with debates until Nov. 12, the governor will unveil his proposal for a flat tax, which he announced last week, in South Carolina on Tuesday.

The flat tax, which would replace a graduated national income tax, has struggled to gain mainstream appeal in recent years, but the proposal remains popular with conservatives, whose support Perry is trying to regain.

Steve Forbes, the businessman who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000 on a flat-tax platform and is now advising Perry, said last week that "people's mouths will water" when they see the details of Perry's plan.

The proposal, as The New York Times reports, could also give Perry another issue on which to hit Mitt Romney, who attacked Forbes' 1996 plan as a "tax cut for fat cats" but said in August that he "love[s] a flat tax."

Time also reports that Perry has added two key Republican strategists, Curt Anderson and Nelson Warfield, to his campaign team. "These are two smart guys," Mark Halperin writes. "Both Warfield and Anderson have long histories with the tax reform/simplification movement — key as Perry starts selling his flat tax." Halperin also says more big-name staff adds are likely.

And a new Los Angeles Times story could spell trouble for Romney, who has repeatedly hit Perry for supporting a Texas law extending in-state tuition rates to the children of illegal immigrants. According to the Times, the universal health care law Romney signed in 2006 includes a program that allows undocumented immigrants to receive medical care.

Culled:

  • The Austin American-Statesman reports that the Texas Supreme Court will hear arguments today over the constitutionality of the so-called margins tax, which became law in 2006 as part of a fix to the state's school finance system. An insurance adjustment firm will argue that the law amounts to an income tax, which would have required voter approval.
  • The Dallas Morning News has tracked down several of Mitt Romney's relatives who live in the Mexican city of Colonia Juárez in Chihuahua, where Romney's father was born. Though the relatives express support for Romney, some say they don't agree with him on every issue. "Let's get real. Sealing the border is a joke, it's senseless," Brandon Romney, a chili farmer and local football coach, tells the Morning News. "You can't stop someone who wants to get across to put food on the table for his family. I'd do the same thing. You have to go beyond bashing Mexico. You have to force Mexico to get its house in order before you can stop illegal immigration."
  • With Republicans cycling through a new presidential favorite what seems like every month, is it now Newt Gingrich's turn? His poll numbers have begun to inch upward, and according to National Review, he has raised nearly $200,000 in the past week — more than he collected throughout the entire month of July, when several of his top staffers bolted.

"I don’t know. I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night. … That came up."Rick Perry to Parade magazine on whether President Barack Obama was born in the U.S.

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