The Big Conversation:
Rick Perry has yet another policy-driven reboot plan in store — and this time, he's going big.
Dogged by missteps that have largely dwarfed his earlier tax- and energy-centered attempts to restart his flailing campaign, Perry today plans to unveil a government-reform proposal that would, as he told Republicans in Iowa on Monday night, "uproot all three branches of government and overhaul Washington."
As the Tribune's Jay Root reports, Perry will propose a "part-time citizen Congress" — in the style of the Texas Legislature — whose members earn half what they do now. He'll call for an end to lifetime appointments for federal judges, including Supreme Court justices.
He'll also take another crack at his plans to eliminate three federal agencies: the Departments of Education, Commerce and, as you might have heard, Energy.
"Washington doesn’t need a new coat of paint," Perry said Monday. "It needs a complete overhaul."
Perry also plans to propose that members of Congress face criminal penalties for insider trading. The governor released a web video Monday taking aim at the practice, which 60 Minutes recently exposed.
Joined by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Perry will unveil his proposal in Iowa, where the stakes remain high for the Texas governor. Polls have consistently shown Perry losing ground in the first-test state: The latest, a Bloomberg survey out today, puts him in fifth place, at 7 percent, behind Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, all virtually tied for first place. But even high-level Perry supporters acknowledge that the governor must perform well in the state to survive.
“We’ve got to be first or second in Iowa,” a source in Perry’s fundraising network told the Tribune last week. “We need some momentum.”
- The latest Public Policy Polling survey has confirmed the Newt Gingrich surge. The former U.S. House speaker now edges Herman Cain nationally among GOP voters, 28 percent to 25 percent. Rick Perry, in fourth, pulls 6 percent, and Ron Paul, in sixth, draws 5 percent.
- The Austin American-Statesman reports today that the state's environmental regulatory agency, whose members Rick Perry appoints, issued a permit in January to a company whose major investors include several of the governor's allies. The commission issued the permit, for an industrial waste injection well, despite objections from state and local officials, including the Texas Railroad Commission, and a warning that the well could pollute groundwater.
- State Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Plano, told the Tribune on Monday that he won't seek another term in the Texas House. Madden, who has served for 10 terms, is one of 22 members of the House who have announced that they won't run for re-election next year.
“I gotta go back to — got all this stuff twirling around in my head.” — Herman Cain, in what's being referred to as his "oops" moment, on whether he agrees with President Obama's stance on Libya
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