- Report: Rick Perry used painkillers to help him get through debates (The Daily Caller): "Texas Gov. Rick Perry was under the influence of painkillers during televised presidential debates over the last year to help relieve severe back pain, according to a soon-to-be released eBook on the 2012 Republican race for president obtained by The Daily Caller. 'It became an open secret that he was using painkillers in sufficient dosages to keep him standing through the two-hour debates,' write the authors of 'Inside the Circus.' … The authors imply that the painkillers may have led to a humorous incident before an October debate in New Hampshire when the 'manager of a rival campaign' overheard Perry belting out the song 'I’ve Been Working on the Railroad' while in the bathroom."
- Rick Perry spokesman says report of guv's painkiller use is 'false, unsubstantiated and ultimately harmful' (The Dallas Morning News): "Gov. Rick Perry's office has released a statement from Ray Sullivan, campaign adviser and former campaign communications director: 'POLITICO's e-book is a low in irresponsible, unsourced and unfounded "reporting," with anonymous untruths about Gov. Perry's debate performances. Gov. Perry's recovery from summer surgery was successful, leaving him more than able [to] handle the grueling schedule that accompanies modern presidential campaigns. The governor has stated that July back surgery prevented his regular exercise routine and Perry officials have also repeatedly and truthfully denied that pain medicine was a factor in the campaign. POLITICO's claims are false, unsubstantiated and ultimately harmful to the political and electoral process, and the to trust in the media that covers the process.'"
- Texas super PAC targets long-time GOP incumbents Joe Barton and Ralph Hall (The Dallas Morning News): "A Texas super PAC with the stated goal of ousting congressional incumbents will target two long-time Texas Republicans in the GOP primary — Joe Barton of Ennis and Ralph Hall of Rockwall. Barton and Hall are among the longest-serving members of the state's congressional delegation. The Campaign for Primary Accountability said today it plans to spend money going after two Republicans, who are both being challenged in the primary. The group earlier announced it was targeting two Democrats — Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas and Sylvestre Reyes of El Paso."
- The Texas primary will be May 29 in case anyone was wondering (Texas Redistricting): "March began with a furious flurry the release of interim maps and changes to the election schedule. But with campaigning having begun in earnest and March having ended without a preclearance decision, so too, in all likelihood, did the prospect of further revisions to the interim maps and a further delay of the Texas primary to June 26, with an August 28 runoff."
- Public, private Texas hospitals spar over Medicaid (Houston Chronicle): "Texas' public hospitals are asking the state to make some taxpayer money now spent on Medicaid care instead pay for the uninsured, a group that soon may be mostly illegal immigrants. The proposal, under consideration by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, is pitting public and private hospitals against each other for hundreds of millions of dollars allocated annually in a supplementary Medicaid program. The public hospitals argue the program favors private hospitals."
- Ron Paul Is Really Serious About Transparency (ProPublica): "He may be in last place when it comes to delegates, but when it comes to filing expense reports with the FEC, Ron Paul beats everyone. His campaign's hyper-vigilance is notable, verging on fanatical."
New in The Texas Tribune:
- Obstacles Exist on Path to the Top of the Org Chart: "Republicans looking to move into a higher elected office face two obstacles: competition and veterans at the top of the organizational chart. The competition doesn't seem to be easing up soon. But Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is leaving office, and the lines are already forming as if Gov. Rick Perry won’t be on the 2014 ballot. So the chart could see some shuffling."
- Shortage of Rural Vets in State Creates a Challenge: "As increasing numbers of graduating veterinary students choose to practice in big cities, a shortage of rural veterinarians has developed in parts of the state."