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The Midday Brief: Dec. 9, 2011

Your afternoon reading: Perry's spoiler potential in Iowa; Trump may scrap GOP debate; amid fiery campaign rhetoric, illegal border crossings on the decline

Campaign materials for Gov. Rick Perry at the Johnson County Fall BBQ event in Tiffin, Iowa, where Perry spoke on Oct. 7, 20…

Your afternoon reading:

  • "Remember Rick Perry? The Texas governor has largely played a bit part (Lemonheads reference!) in the presidential race in the six weeks (or so) since his disastrous 'oops' moment in a nationally televised debate. But he may now be poised to play a bigger role in the contest — if not as a primary contender than as a spoiler." — Rick Perry, the Iowa x-factor, The Washington Post
  • "Business mogul Donald Trump said Friday he might scrub a presidential debate that so far has drawn only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. … 'I have to look into it,' Trump told Fox Business Network when asked whether he would host a two-candidate debate." — Trump might scrub his GOP presidential debate, The Associated Press
  • "The White House takes issue with Rick Perry's allegation that Barack Obama is engaged in a 'war on religion.' But with the Texas governor barely registering in the polls — 'struggling,' as Obama press secretary Jay Carney put it — the Obama team doesn't much care. 'I'm fairly certain the president is not even aware of those accusations,' Carney told reporters at the daily White House press briefing. 'I'll limit my comment on the struggling state of some presidential campaigns.'" — Obama aide: Perry "struggling," and wrong on "war on religion," Trail Blazers
  • "Ron Paul's initial buy for his anti-Newt Gingrich spot was pretty small-ball, but a senior Paul adviser tells me they're expanding the buy into the six-figure range for the ad, which laces the former House Speaker over 'hypocrisy.'" — Paul to expand anti-Newt ad buy, Politico
  • "The second of four lawsuits that are expected to challenge Texas’ school finance system was filed Friday morning. A coalition of mostly property-wealthy school districts, including Eanes, are claiming that the current system violates the state constitution because it is inadequately funded and effectively imposes a statewide property tax." — Second school finance lawsuit filed, Postcards

New in The Texas Tribune:

  • "A sour economy, increased border law enforcement and skyrocketing smuggling fees are keeping more would-be crossers at home. But you wouldn't know it from the presidential campaigns." — Illegal Crossings Fall as Border Rhetoric Soars
  • "A new billboard that will tower over Dallas' North Central Expressway on Monday offers a startling message on college graduation rates, an effort by a state business group to turn the spotlight on the the state's lagging higher ed outcomes." — Graduation Rates Campaign Heads to Dallas
  • "They lost in 2010, but some candidates are hoping that was just a temporary glitch and voters have changed their minds. The 2012 ballot will be stippled with officeholders who were cast out by voters last election but want to try again. It's worked before, but can it work for these retreads?" — Defeated Candidates Ask Voters for Another Shot
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